In this video, PAWsitive Channel shares the story of a veteran who says her Labrador service dog is her very own hero.
Retired Major NC USAF Linda Stanley served for over 20 years in the US military. She spent six years in the Army and 14 years in the Air Force as a nurse.
In 2006, she was deployed as a trauma nurse for the 32nd Medical Group in Balad, Iraq where she cared for the severely injured.
Linda witnessed the worst conditions imaginable. She say it was the “human side” of war that affected her most.
Linda was tough. She had the grit of a soldier.
Her dedication was not without cost. She developed PTSD overtime and her condition made it difficult for her to go out in the world and to sleep.
Luckily, she was introduced to Loving Canines Assistance Dogs, a non-profit that matches service members with service dogs.The group paired Linda with Willow, a yellow Labrador Retriever.
“Willow is an old soul,” Linda says. “She wants to be with me all the time and she knows everything about me.”
Linda considers the Labrador her hero – helping and relieving her when the anxiety starts kicking in.
“She made me feel safe,” Linda shares. “She responded to my triggers and allowed me to be more out in public.”
Willow also helped Linda reconnect with the world.
“I remember walking on the beach before and I felt with my sunglasses on and headphones, I was invisible,” she shares. “But when you have a service dog, people smile at you. They want to talk to you. We don’t really want to talk. It’s kind of a force therapy but it works.”
Willow helped Linda get her life back again and feel the happiness she hasn’t felt for so long.
“Every service member goes through so much to protect our lives and liberties that sometimes we forget that they might need saving too,” PAWsitive Channel wrote in a press release.
Today, Linda works as a psychiatric nurse practitioner and has turned her experiences with PTSD into a mission to help other fellow service members.