On June 14th at ICAN's Summer Graduation, Tyrion will be placed with Bobby, a veteran, as a PTSD/Mobility Assistance dog. We asked Bobby to share with us about receiving Tyrion as his service dog and how he will make a huge impact in his life.
I served a little over 13 years between the guard and the army and medically retired as an E6 Staff Sergeant. I was deployed for 12 months to Afghanistan in many different parts of the country but most of my time was spent around the Pakistan Boarder, Bagram Air Base and in the city of Kabul. Due to injuries in combat, I have Traumatic Brain Injury, nerve damage and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; I have a difficult time being in crowds; have balance issues and sometimes I black out and fall down.
Bobby and Tyrion
I had been meeting with my physicians for quite some time on different ways to deal with my PTSD I have been facing since returning home. She knew I had a love for animals from prior conversations so she wrote me a letter and suggested that I contact ICAN. She had thought that having a service animal would be greatly beneficial.
Upon meeting Tyrion I felt a sense of comfort for the first time in a long time. He was able to do many things as far as helping to comfort my stress, helping me pick things up, and apply pressure on my legs suppressing some of my nerve pain in my legs. Although I have not yet been out in public with him I could feel a connection. When hearing that I would be matched up with Tyrion, I was excited and felt like a weight had been lifted.
I feel like I might have a chance to finally reintegrate back in to public and feel like I am taking one more step forward to being normal again; I feel like Tyrion will be able to help me with my daily stressors of panic attacks, paranoia, and help to control my emotions along with various other things.
I believe Tyrion will have a huge impact in my life. I believe he will give me the inspiration to start living again.
Tyrion with his ICAN Handler, Vanessa
Vanessa is an ICAN handler at the Indiana Women's Prison. She prepared Tyrion for his Level 3 & 4 training.
Tyrion is my fourth dog. He is the sweetest, most loving dog I've ever had the privilege of training. When he was assigned to me he was already so well round thanks to his handler Paul, at Correctional Industrial Facility, who trained him for his first two levels. Since he has been with me, I have taught him all of his level 3 and 4 skills that his client, Bobby, will need. Some of those skills are brace, crutch, wingman, interrupting stemming behaviors such as leg spasms and PTSD. He will also retrieve dropped items and go find help when needed.
Vanessa demonstrating a cue to a furlough class.
Tyrion loves to work and he loves to play, but most of all he loves his down time and snores like an old bear!
ICAN has changed my life. Learning how to train these dogs has taught me how to be patient, consistent and responsible. These character traits were not evident in me before ICAN. ICAN has given me a true purpose. I know that Tyrion will help improve Bobby's quality of life and I am forever grateful to ICAN for allowing me to be a part of that.
On June 14th, eight dogs will be bringing hope to someone living with a disability. If you have never been to an ICAN graduation, we promise you an evening filled with inspiration as you witness the power of our handlers and clients coming full circle through the spirit of a dog. Please join us in celebrating
The graduation takes place on Thursday, June 14th at the Indiana Women's Prison. It begins at 7pm and arrival time must be done between 6:15 and 6:45pm to allow time for security clearance. You must be 18 years or older to attend and pre-registered.
There is still time to register at ICAN JUNE GRADUATION as long as you do so by midnight on June 6th.
To learn more and see photos from other ICAN Graduations, please visit ICAN Graduation.