How has Remus made a difference in my life?
Story coming soon!
Story coming soon!
My name is Branden and I am a disabled Marine veteran. I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008. I suffer from PTSD, TBI, and also some physical disabilities.
Being in Afghanistan for about a year everything seemed normal; however, when I got back to the states that’s when the real war began, with flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety. I was at my lowest point at that time and didn’t want to live anymore with the war within my head.
Another Marine buddy of mine told me I should see about getting a service dog to help with my PTSD & anxiety triggers, especially out in public in large crowds. After doing some searching online I came across Service Paws of Central PA (SPCP) and spoke with Joe. I told Joe exactly why I needed a service dog and asked him if he could help me in anyway.
A week or so went by and Joe called and referred me to New Hope Assistance Dogs located in Warren, Pa. After speaking with New Hope they said they have a dog ready for me to meet and to be trained with me.
Zeke was a year old and in one of New Hope's prison training program and already had advanced training. When I picked up Zeke we had an instant connection and bond. It’s like Zeke knew I was in need of some help. Zeke has been a true blessing for me. He helps me with my PTSD and anxiety triggers. I feel more comfortable being in larger crowds now with him by my side, letting me know that everything is alright. He is the smartest dog I know and he is truly a life saver! I can’t thank Joe and SPCP enough for helping me find Zeke and all the donations to make it possible for me to have him.
Freedom. One word that can describe how my service dog, Memphis has helped me deal with the daily struggles of how I used to live. As a disabled Veteran, I have had to cope with isolation, anxiety and withdrawal from many of things that I used to enjoy. Freedom to resume things like going out in public, shopping or even eating out were all avoided before New Hope Assistance Dogs was able to match me with Memphis. We have a bond that is apparent to everyone that I am around and his ability to seek me out and provide the support I didn’t have before.
Memphis has become the missing piece that I didn’t know I was missing. He has become so many things to me, that his reassurance, skills and love helps me get through the day. The ability to be able to go out myself and interact in a meaningful way was something that I took for granted. Before Memphis, I would only go out with a member of my family or a close friend. Even then, it was something that I would avoid as much as I could. It is impossible to describe the apprehension and trepidation I had where it became a mountain to climb just to leave my room. The strength and protection I have now has helped me regain some of my freedom that has been missing for such a long time. Not every day has been easy but every day is easier because Memphis has been there for me from the time I get up, until I go to sleep and even when I am sleeping, just knowing he is there has such a strong calming effect.
The training for a Service Dog is readily noticeable because Memphis does things to help me in many situations even before I know that I need it. Although I have grown up with dogs my whole life and always loved the companionship that I have had with them the relationship with Memphis is special. Many people have commented that Memphis is such a special animal they way he responds, his interactions with others and the way he looks over me. From my parents, friends, coworkers and even people who don’t know me have commented about the bond he has with me. This bond which was made in a few moments, grows each day but is shown like we have been together for years. The only caveat has been that some people don’t recognize that Memphis is working to keep me safe but think I am training him to work with others. His responses in all situations are seamless and instantaneous.
While I have been working with Memphis I have gotten to know other disable Veterans and they have also commented on our bond. The care, love and dedication to high quality training has given me the gift of my personal freedom back. Something that medications, counselors and other programs that provided no respite from what I suffered with every day. When I first met Memphis and thought what a strange name for a dog. I have learned that there are two things dogs don’t choose are their names and the ones who they are closest to. Memphis has become an extension of myself and giving me personal freedom to be myself again. I have also learned that Memphis from mythology means “established and beautiful” and certainly I cannot think of a better name that helps cement his personality and traits that easy to be seen by all. Memphis is my guardian, my protector and my friend who I would now be lost without.
My parents knew the impact with the time I have had with Memphis because it was the one thing that has been missing for so long, my ability to laugh and relax has been missing. Something I think we all feared would take years to return but a few short months with Memphis by my side has given me the ability to smile, laugh and engage in life in such a way that a has been missing for a long time. New Hope is also aptly named as they have given me a New Hope from where there was no hope before.
I am not starting this off at the beginning. I will start by saying I got to meet a new friend Remus and his human while going through some things. I got to experience how much Remus was able to assist during the highs and lows of my journey at that time. It was during this time that I reached out to New Hope and started the process of getting a Service Dog. The process took a lot longer then I would have liked but in the end I ended up with the best Battle Buddy I could have asked for. This is when Tracker entered my life.
During my process New Hope Staff had a few dogs in mind for the process of pairing with me knowing that I am active walker. I had handled a couple of dogs but none seemed to really link up with me. They all listened and responded to commands and handled wonderfully. We had decided to take a break from the process and just get a couple of dogs worked to help get them out and socialized and more hours of training on them. It was during this time that I was asked to handle this dog who in the kennel seemed really excited and a handful. He was a little muddy and smelled like a dog sometimes does. He was brought out and was completely different on leash and working. We decided to take him to dinner to see how he would do out in public. He was calm and just sprawled out on the floor but always looking behind me.
That evening he stayed in my room with me and we just hung out. During the night he would wake me up and I just thought he had to pee, nope. The next morning, I took him to the large kennel to run and do his morning business while I would go back in to do mine. He would not have it. He ran back to the door and was jumping almost as high as the fence. Barb had arrived and was able to witness this and just made the comment “He is yours, my job with paring is complete.” She walked inside as I stood there a little confused. We came back in and Barb asked me to come to the office. She informed me that he chooses me and asked how I felt about him. I told her I felt nervous but a real strong connection with him. So we cleaned him up and I continued my handling education with Tracker at my side.
Tracker assists me with my day to day life just by being there. His ability to sense when I am stressing or just getting into my own head is amazing. He will push his way into my lap and force me to focus on him till I calm down. Even when I think I am good he will force his presence until he knows I am calm. He always has my back and is very attentive to me even when he is playing with my daughters. He will play then come find me and check in. Like a lot of people, we don’t care for crowds. Since getting him I have gone to the Bloomsburg Fair which I throughly do not really like because I feel trapped. With him by my side it was very comforting to know that he was in my bubble but also keeping everyone else out. I also enjoyed my first profession football game with him by my side. He also wakes me up from nightmares by standing on me and licking me awake. This is when I put one and one together the nights out at New Hope he was not waking me up to go outside I was having nightmares.
Barb, Tammy and Cinda were and are absolutely wonderful to work with. I learned so much by watching and listening to them while I was being instructed. I will always be grateful for them and their organization. I can’t say THANK YOU enough.
Story coming soon!
They say it takes a village, and that is exactly what you get with New Hope Assistance Dogs! A village of warm hearted people looking to help those with disabilities, both visible and invisible. They work with each person, tirelessly, to help us bond with and train our dogs and teach them the skills that will ultimately enable us to live independently and freely. After my military service, I was diagnosed with PTSD and struggled with the various ways in which it manifested. My service dog, Mika, was trained to do a number of different tasks such as performing deep pressure therapy, pawing at me or nudging me if I got anxious or dissociated, and waking me from my nightmares and more. The companionship was also something that helped immensely when I was going through particularly rough patches. Mika, very much gave me my life back. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, a hard working employee, a lover of sitting in parks and playing ukulele and going out to grab coffee with friends—and I owe that all to Mika and the support I got from this incredible organization.
Quigley and New Hope saved my life. This testimonial is exciting and nerve wracking at the same time, but I will try my best to keep this under one page!
It had been almost three years since I got out of the Army, where I hit a point in my life where I did not want to go on anymore. I felt like I was fighting a losing battle until one day I came across New Hope Assistance Dogs website, and something in my gut told me to give it a try and apply. I filled out an application for a PTSD service dog because I am a Veteran. I was so excited, nervous, anxious, and happy when I was approved.
Meeting Quigley almost feels like fate because in a way, we both felt like we needed each other. Quigley was originally going to be a Therapy Dog due to his motion sickness but when we looked at each other… it’s almost like he saved me instantly. During my time training and bonding with Quigley, I was going through a rough time and had a bad panic attack and broke down. I honestly believe until this day if it were not for Quigley’s training and swift action to come to his owner’s side, I would not be here to tell the story/testimonial.
Since getting Quigley in the summer of 2018, he never leaves my side. Quigley’s birthday is a day before mine (how crazy is that?!) and he is just a ball of love. Since getting Quigley in 2018, People in public and at work are always so impressed with how well trained he is. I have New Hope to thank for that! He lives and breathes for me, as I do for him. I can honestly say Quigley saves me from myself daily, especially through the pandemic and I could not have asked for a better companion/PTSD service dog.
Thank you Tammy and New Hope for giving me hope and second chance at life.
Hello My name is Wayne and I am a disabled Vietnam Veteran who served in the Marines in Vietnam during 1967-68. About 20 years ago I was diagnosed with Agent Orange and thus have had many complications. Just to name a few are Lung Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Quadruple By-pass, Diabetes and Peripheral Neuropathy. Along with military life came PTSD as well. I have had dogs much of my life and have seen the benefits that they can provide to someone in my position. The unconditional love and companionship they offer is second to none. So I completed an application with New Hope Assistance Dogs for a PTSD dog that could also help to signal when my sugar goes high/low and help with balance issues. I received a Golden Retriever named Gunner and I fell in love. He provides me with great comfort and companionship, and always makes me smile. With the help of Gunner, I am able to get through the day with less anxiety, when the PTSD flairs up. Gunner knows when I am having a bad day and is always right by my side. I look forward to waking up and seeing his happy face each day. Gunner is my battle buddy and I am very grateful to have him.
My name is David. I was deployed to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003-2004 with the U.S. Army. As a disabled Vet I deal with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and frequent hospitalization. I hate large crowds, shopping, and at my lowest points, even leaving the house.
When I met Zee, it felt like she filled a hole in my life. She’s my companion against anxiety and depression. She’s there during my flashbacks to ground me in the here and now. She centers me during my anxiety attacks and cuts them short. She helps me live a routine and keep to a schedule which helps me remember things such as taking medication and doing basic daily self-care. She has to eat breakfast every morning, and so do I. She needs walked, so I get exercise. Without her, my basic daily functioning would all fall on my wife. With her, I feel more independent and self-reliant and secure. I even try public things now with my family more because she is there with us.
I can’t say Thank You enough to New Hope Assistance Dogs for the gift they have given me in Zee. And to the United Fund. Without their help this wouldn’t have been possible. I wouldn’t be living a more fulfilling life today without Zee. So Thank You, Thank You for making this happen! She has been with me for a year now and I never want to go back to living without her. Before I was isolated, now I have a constant companion, and a best friend who always understands. Thank you! David & Zee
I recently retired from the Air Force after 18.5 years of Service that included 14 assignments, 4 of which were overseas tours. As I was going through PTSD treatment, one of my doctors recommended having a Service Dog may provide me some much needed help. Within a month of apprehensively submitting my package, they gave me a call to let me know if I could come to Warren, PA the next week, they had the dog for me. I was introduced to Sim (short for Simhanada) at New Hope Assistance Dogs when he was approximately 1.5 years old. He was clearly intelligent, loving, and obedient, but it was his gentle stubbornness (mirroring my own) that let me know he was the dog I was meant to be partnered with.
Sim is the perfect teammate for me. He has increased my ability to leave the home through his trained intuition for exactly what I need at that moment. When I am in public, he will "watch my back" by sitting and facing the opposite direction I am faced, alerting me if someone is coming up behind me. If an unknown person comes up to me, until I communicate to him the person is "safe," he will physically block them, not letting them touch me or come close. When I get anxious, he is able to calm my anxiety by using deep pressure into my thighs, and he is capable of knowing when a simple lick on the face will "snap me out of it." And on the days I am physically too weak to get up, he is able to brace, aiding me to get up. These tasks Sim performs for me are just a few of the ways Sim has changed my life, allowing me to open my aperture and slowly become a part of the world and my
local community again. I am so grateful to New Hope for training Sim! He has and continues to change my life. I never knew I could love a dog so much.
Story coming soon!
It is so easy to write this testimonial, because Stanley has made such a huge impact on me and my recovery.
I first met Stanley around his third birthday, him having completed two and a half years of training with New Hope Assistance Dogs out of Warren, PA. Stanley I think naturally has a buoyant and charming personality, but the training from New Hope really made him what he is: a great service dog. Everywhere I go, people are in awe of Stanley's looks, his behavior, his demeanor, and his service and loyalty to me. Stanley won't leave my side and he lives to please me, his owner. Last night, for example, I had a combat related nightmare (I was deployed to Iraq with the Army in '06 - '07 and have been diagnosed with clinical PTSD) and I turned to Stanley to help ease me out of my subsequent panic attack. I laid on the floor next to Stanley and he proceeded to "comfort me" - licking my hands and face profusely, then leaning his 85 lb. body on me and laying his head on my shoulder. My panic attack ended and I forgot about my nightmare and fell asleep. It didn't surprise me at all. Since I first got Stanley a month ago, I have gone from 2-3 severe panic attacks per day (caused by stress or loud noises) - to about one every 2 weeks. I can't necessarily explain the science behind it, or specify why Stanley has helped me so much - all I can say is that before I got Stanley from New Hope, I wasn't even considering going back to work. 3 days after getting him, I called my wife and said - for the first time in months, I'm completely confident that I will be going back to work and soon. Now I'm working, going out to restaurants and enjoying loud, crowded social events with Stanley and not having panic attacks. It was interesting to observe the effect that Stanley has had on me. Over this past weekend, I took my family out Ice Skating and then to see the model trains - because I didn't have a place for Stanley to be with me while ice skating, I left him at home. After ice skating when we went to the model trains, we were packed into the historic (small and cramped) train station looking at the model trains with the kids and the door slammed. I had my first loud noise related panic attack since I first got Stanley a month ago! I immediately told my wife we needed to go home and check on Stanley - but it was really because I missed him and his calming influence on me. Stanley has barely left my side since he's been with me and I haven't had a panic attack from loud noise. The only event I've been to without him has one loud noise and I have a panic attack (shaking and dissociating) right there in the train station. I really attribute the reduction in symptoms to Stanley's calming influence on me. Thank you New Hope - you and Stanley have given me New Hope!