It’s not easy for any military vet to switch successfully from a life in Afghanistan, centered on a war, to small town life in Texas, centered around a wife and two kids. For one who deals with the debilitating effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, it can be unworkable.
That was the difficult situation facing McLean Raybon. After he returned home, he struggled to deal with flashbacks, mood swings, nightmares and avoidance–symptoms of PTSD. Between feelings of terror at night and fears of leaving the house during the day, he couldn’t fit into his pre-war life.
On a visit to the Veterans Affairs office in his hometown, he found out about service dogs from a local member of the K9 for Warriors nonprofit group. He decided it was worth a try and filled an application.
Months later, Raybon was introduced to his service dog Merrick, a rescue. The dog got his name from the pet car company that sponsored him.
Merrick and Raybon bonded. Together they went through the specialized training required for all service dogs. Merrick learned obedience and how to perform particular tasks that make his owner’s life easier.
“A Second Chance”
Kerrin, Raybon’s wife, said simply, “He was tired of being a zombie.” In a video for the dog’s sponsor, he explained, “I was looking for a second chance.” That was Merrick.
With the service dog by his side, the effect has been life-changing. “I don’t have to watch my own back, he’s got me.” Knowing that, Raybon now confidently navigates the grocery store, family events and other daily encounters.
Merrick fits in seamlessly with the family. His son and daughter play with him, and the dog loves it. His daughter even plays dress up with Merrick, who handles it with aplomb.
The Value of a Service Dog
Raybon said he had never even considered getting a service dog after his return from Afghanistan. He thought they were strictly for people with vision problems. The fact is, these dogs help people suffering from PTSD, like Raybon, vets with brain injury, and those dealing with military sexual trauma.
He is now spreading the word to other vets. He wants them to know that a service dog is a viable alternative, or addition, to medication when it comes to treating PTSD. He cites study in progress at Purdue University that shows the powerful and positive effects of a service dog for a military veteran.
Support from USA Service Dog Registration
USA Service Dog Registration fully supports service dogs for vets and others. We see how essential these animals are to their owners, helping them participate once again in life and function effectively.
That’s why our website offers a simple, 3-step registration. And it’s totally free! People can also register therapy dogs and emotional support animals.
As the experts here at USA Service Dog Registration point out, not all disabilities are apparent. For people fighting PTSD but determined to create a productive life, a service dog can be the critical link. These animals are also trained to help with hearing problems, seizure conditions and other life-restricting afflictions.
Beside registering these animals, USA Service Dog Registration also works to educate owners and the general public about them. The website offers a wide variety of resources, from news about state laws to airline requirements.
The site has a store with a wide range of tools to make life easier for dogs and owners. It stocks individual items and packages that include leashes, harnesses, tags, patches and vests.
Time to register your dog? Looking for service dog equipment? Want more information about legal guidelines? Stop by USA Service Animal Registration, your source for easy, free registration, as well as tools and information.
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