A couple of years after I was diagnosed with PTSD, I got the courage to go and see one of my friends in England that also has PTSD. We met each other while we were on vacation in Jamaica the year of 911, and we've been like brother and sister (should be), ever since.
Up until meeting Pete, I had never heard of post traumatic stress disorder, but we sat up late one night talking about what it was, and how he ended up with the disease after fighting in the Gulf war.
While I was visiting him and his wife, there were a couple of times they left me alone in the house and it was then that I realized how much a dog could help me feel safer. Olly, their dog, would lunge at the door; barking voraciously at anyone that came close to the door, and it made me feel safe and protected even though I was in a strange place.
As soon as I got home, I decided I was going to start looking for the best breed of dog for the job, as well as trying to convince my husband why we should add a furry family member into our "empty nest." I had always liked German Shepherds, and when I found out they were one of the best canines to add to a family where there were going to be grand babies, I was sold. The next step was to find a breeder, pick out the new member of our family, and start training him or her.
It turned out to be a “her” and she is named after Xena, the warrior princess. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought a canine could impact my life and my disease so much. Not only does Xena bark when someone knocks at the door, or comes near the property, but she has learned how to pick up on my emotional state and has learned how to distract me. Whether I'm crying, the tone in my voice changes, or I'm whimpering during a nightmare; Xena comes to my rescue.
She will nudge me with her nose, lick my face, or come and sit so close to me, she's actually leaning against me and she doesn't leave until my mood has changed for the better. In fact, she's become so good at sensing my moods, she'll come and stick her head under my hand and as I'm wondering what she wants, I'll realize there are tears streaming down my face, but I'm not making any sound. Dogs truly are man's best friend, and she quickly became one of mine.
She is my warrior princess, as well as being my protector, and an amazing companion. I believe she has been (and still is), instrumental in helping me on my journey with PTSD and if you're looking for a companion to help you be a better survivor, I recommend looking for your own warrior princess, or prince.
Stay safe and stay strong. Thanks for following.
*If you live in Canada, I would start here: http://www.nsd.on.ca/.