Save a Life, Change a Life
Todd Kirkland came to Glad Wags in search of a service dog after 9 years of struggling with military combat related post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Todd joined the Army while a senior in high school and shortly thereafter deployed tp Iraq where he served as a truck driver and he served as a truck driver and a gun truck crewman providing convoy security for US forces. As a result of a head injury from a roadside bomb and losing friends in firefights, Todd started having seizures and experiencing flashbacks, recurrent combat related nightmares, and severe depression and anxiety. He is helped greatly by his wife, Danielle, and they would tell you that they have received significant help from the VA, but Todd continues to struggle with PTSD symptoms. After watching a documentary on service dogs helping military veterans with PTSD, Todd and Danielle researched the possibility of Todd getting a service dog which led him to Glad Wags.
"On June 25, 2010, Shelby was diagnosed with Pre B cell All (acute lymphoblastic leukemia). After enduring almost 3 years of chemo by mouth, injected into her spine, IV, and chemo injected into her thighs Shelby remains in remission. Remission does not mean cured, she still has 2 years until she is considered cured. During this time she received so many blood transfusions that we lost count. She also received multiple platelet transfusion as well as albumin. She was treated for multiple infections, pneumonia, chemical menigitis and a fungal infection that spread throughout her body. During this time Shelby came close to death but fought on. She was hospitalized over 28 times, lost her gallbladder, had surgery to clean out a fungal infection on her neck. Now for the leftovers. Shelby has AVN (avascular necrosis) in both knees and has undergone 4 knee surgeries to drill multiple holes in her femur and tibia to promote blood and regrow bone, but she has pain every day in her legs and her low back from a crack in a lumbar vertebrae. She has memory and focus issues from the IT (intrathecal chemo). Her right lung base is scarred down from the fungal infection and she has shortness of breath and chest pain with hot or humid weather (gotta love Oklahoma weather). Now to the PTSD with extreme anxiety. From everything she has had to undergone she has PTSD with extreme anxiety, she is on medication, but, she still was unable to complete a full day of school or go shopping or out to eat. After doing the research herself, we found Glad Wags and hence Shelby and Skye were paired. After completing several months of training with Marj and Skye, Shelby was able to bring Skye home. Shelby and Skye are juniors at Caney Valley High school and with Skye at her side, Shelby is able to complete 5 hours of school daily as well as shopping and daily living. Skye is at Shelby's side and the night terrors have decreased as well as just being able to start living again as a teenager. Skye has made a difference in Shelby's life and we just could not imagine Skye not being a part of our family." - Lori Truitt, Shelby Foreman's mom.
Riley, a black Labrador, is another of our first service dogs that we ever helped produced. Diane came to us for help in 2011 – Riley had been granted to her by another service dog organization and needed significant retroactive help in his training. His handler was up to the task, however, and has worked very, very hard with us to make Riley one of our most reliable (not to mention handsome) dogs. Riley has recently stepped up to the task of also alerting Diane of impending seizures, and this additional hard work has really focused him as a working dog.
"I was diagnosed 12 years ago with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I am also told by doctors that this is a permanent condition. Until about a year and a half ago I was completely unable to go out in public and making doctors appointments was traumatic. I had gotten Riley Dawg to train as a service Dog about 3 years ago to help me cope with my disorder. The first year and a half I went to various trainers for help in preparing him for his work. Not only was there no success in training him, he was completely miss trained for Service Dog Work. I had given up hope that he would ever be able to help me in public. I was so embarrassed to have him seen in public, his actions so inappropriate I would not take him with me when I needed to. I had given up hope he could be a Service Dog in public even though his work at home was invaluable. My therapists and a doctor told me of and recommended Glad Wags and Marj The Dog Trainer for my needs. After just one hour of evaluation Marj explained what Riley needed and what I would need to have a competent Service Dog. AT the time I was still unable to talk much less communicate well and was at a great disadvantage. The first six months of his training not only set Riley up for proper work and behavior, Marj completely reversed all the incorrect training I had followed. Today I can leave my home and go our without hesitation and confident Riley will do all that he needs to do to get me through it. I continue training with Marj to not only enhance Riley’s Service Dog work but have a goal of him being able to provide Search and Rescue services. Thanks to Marj and Glad Wags I have a True Service Dog Working that will not fail me the rest of his life. I thank God every time I go out for Marj in our lives and enabling all the needed changes for this to be a success." - Diane