I have been a part of a 10 year journey with someone near and dear to me who while on duty suffered from TBI. Some days are good, almost "normal". However, this lifelong condition will continue to be an unpredictable battle. Life on life's terms is hard enough, but dealing with the VA is akin to having a full time job......that you dislike very much!
A K9 companion was donated a couple of years ago in the hopes she would help with day to day tasks and, more importantly, the depression. I have seen a positive change and am most grateful! With more brighter days than before, there still remain challenges - physically, emotionally and mentally.
It soon became apparent that the condition and mental state of the K9 companion often reflected what the veteran was feeling or experiencing, and I thought to myself, "What can we do to help?" The conclusion we came to is that there needs to be a bridge between the established bond between our heroes and their companions and the support systems in already place for the veteran.
Humans can mask their emotional and mental issues until they have set themselves on an ever tighter downward spiral, but the K9 companions cannot. Using the well being of the service animal as an indicator of the well being of the veteran may prove to be very beneficial in encouraging someone to seek help sooner. With my love of, and experience with, K9's, my direct exposure in dealing with the VA, and being personally invested in the support of a wounded veteran, my team and I set out to help enrich the quality of life of the K9 companion so they can continue to be of optimum service to our heroes.
- Abigail Harrington, Founder & Chief Executive Officer