This blog post comes Marjorie who is the wife of a veteran, Tom, who participates in Easter Seals Greater Houston’s veteran’s mental health program as well as the service dog program. Marjorie is a staff member and she and Tom are the amazing parents of two daughters. Their young girls were both adopted and born with disabilities. They are an absolutely amazing family.
“Norman is one of Easter Seals Greater Houston’s most recent service dog pairings. He is a labrador retriever and was born on Christmas day in 2016. It wasn’t until he joined our family in February 2017 that we realized what a gift he would be to all of us. As the wife I was ever hopeful that he would be able to help my veteran husband with managing his post traumatic stress disorder. In June 2017, Norman became an integral part of our family when my husband, Tom, got sick. We picked up Norman from additional service dog training as soon as Tom got out of the hospital. Norman comforted Tom and their bond grew even more. As the training continued, Norman became more helpful even as a puppy in training. When Harvey hit there were many helicopters flying overhead which triggered severe PTSD and anxiety, Norman was alerting Tom as his anxiety increased. He helped Tom manage his PTSD and helped me to be more aware of when Tom was having a hard time even in dire circumstances. For that I am forever grateful. I do not know what the outcome would have been during this extremely stressful time without Norman.
We have also had an unexpected result of having Norman in our family. Our 5 year old daughter with special needs and also a client of Easter Seals has a tendency to “wander off”. Norman, as apparently his secondary job, will alert us immediately if she goes too far. He never barks unless she has gone beyond a boundary that he seems to know instinctively.
In November, Norman became a certified service dog having completed all his training. He and Tom are a true team now. You will not see Tom without Norman. I will forever be grateful for Easter Seals Greater Houston giving my husband more freedom from his PTSD symptoms and for his help with our daughter as well.”