In the early stages of our marriage, my husband and I embarked on a journey that would change both of our lives. Before we met, Mark served as Flight Commander, Executive Officer, Chief of Scheduling, and Bomber One during Operations Desert Storm, Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. His service to our country was inspiring and his commitment to the military community endured even after he retired from active duty in 2012. But this journey was not just about his transition back into civilian life — it also included training our first service dog, Allie.
The Purpose Behind Training Service Dog Allie
For us, training Allie was an important part of dealing with my husband’s mild PTSD. He had lost several comrades to suicide due to PTSD and wanted to do something to honor them. That’s where Allie came in — she had the potential to be an antidote for veterans with PTSD through her specialized training. With 22 suicides a day related to PTSD, Mark felt strongly about helping those who serve us by providing the right tools for them to cope with their mental health issues. And that’s where Allie comes in — she is highly skilled and trained Belgian Malinois who has become an integral part of our lives since 2012 as a service dog for veterans suffering from PTSD.
Allie is trained in advanced obedience and can detect changes in her handler’s vitals which allow her to alert for panic attacks or other signs of distress before they occur. She is able to identify when a person has reached their breaking point and will take action when needed – whether that means barking or nudging her handler until help arrives or simply providing comfort by lying down next to them as they rest. Additionally, she can detect changes in environmental factors such as noise levels or temperature which can help veterans stay calm while out in public areas or busy environments like airports or shopping malls.
Allie has been an incredible addition to our family ever since we began training her back in 2012 — not only does she provide comfort and support for my husband’s mild PTSD symptoms but also helps us honor his fallen comrades who were lost too soon due to suicide related illnesses like depression or anxiety disorders stemming from their time serving overseas. This journey that we have been on together has also helped us understand more about how important it is for veterans suffering from these conditions to have access resources such as service dogs so that they may receive much needed emotional support when times are tough.
We are proud of the work Allie does every day and hope that one day all veterans can have accesses to the same type of support that Mark receives through his relationship with her!