Tomorrow afternoon is our graduation! Woohoo! We passed our public access exam today. Bear did great and I did good with the questions from random people as well as when asked what Bear specifically is trained to do for me. He did just great!
Me, on the other hand, well, I am hanging in there! My three days of little sleep and little food is catching up to me. I’m very testy and irritable. I noticed I was getting upset and Bear came over and rested his head on my leg. Sometimes I don’t realize I’m getting upset until he does it. Here is a picture of Bear when I was getting stressed before our test this afternoon. He got on the couch by himself and rested his head on me… I was stroking his paws.
I can’t wait to get back home and see my boys! I miss my son terribly. I suppose I miss the hubs (j/k). I really am just done with this training stuff, and while I’ve made some great friends here, and met great people, I am ready to get back to my home. I want to get back to my life and get started on this chapter. I think with Bear by my side I will be able to make it through a lot more than alone. At this point I don’t care what others think of me, my dog, my situation. I just don’t because I have to live this life, no one else. I’m sure I will have friends back home who won’t understand… but people also don’t understand when they find out I’m medicated.. or that I am as heavily “therapied” (that’s not a word.. I know..). I’m getting to a point where I will not be ashamed or embarrassed to come home when others I worked with didn’t.
My therapist said it well, when I was at the VA getting re-evaluated, the therapist I spoke with mentioned that I had about 30 years of life experience crammed into a 1 year period and it will just take time for my mind to process it all. It made sense. Although I know left untreated, my PTSD would certainly lead to my homelessness and a breakdown of my family; I am so glad I got help when I did. I love my husband but my family did NOT deserve who I was. I desperately sought treatments with all coming short. I’ve found the most amazing therapy tool imaginable. Another being who can almost instantly lighten the mood. I am still learning how to use Bear, but I am learning that when I am hurt, I can call him on the couch or bed and he will cuddle with me. He looks into my eyes and you would have to be crazy to not see that there is at sense of concern behind them. I don’t know if Bear can sense that my heart rate starts climbing up, or that my hands get clammy, or if my breathing changes.. but he knows something is different and he knows he can help it. Bear is happiest when he is working.
When I am out in public with Bear, I know no one will sneak up on me. He has always turned his head to look at people if they are either too close (like walking RIGHT behind us) or if we are outside and someone new comes out. All he does is turn his head and I can tell that there is someone new around. That sense that someone is always looking out for us is something no pill can match.
When stress levels went through the roof mid week, I stopped eating and was sleeping only maybe an hour at a time. When I got out of bed in the morning I discovered every sock in my room had been placed on the bed next to me. Bear must have realized I really needed something and offered me socks. It was so cute and certainly put the rare smile on my face. The poor dog not only slept with his head on my legs most the night, but also went to bring me “gifts”. No idea how long it took for him to go through my clothes pile, but every sock had been found and was next to me.
If Bear is helping me this much already, and he hasn’t had nearly as bad of side effects as a lot of the medications I have been on, I can’t wait to see how effective having him will be in the next 14 years of his life (God willing). Using Bear as an anti anxiety, anti isolation, memory aid, etc, has not produced any vomiting, no nausea, no dry mouth, no sleep disturbances, no risk of addiction (well…). I don’t have to worry about if the VA has filled my Bear in time and mailed it out to me (in their defense my medications are actually now arriving before i run out.. lol). I don’t have to worry if the company producing Bear discovers an ill side effect… It’s just Bear. He is a being… I take care of him, love him, learn with him, teach him, and in return he offers me devotion, loyalty and love. It’s amazing and I am proud to be a part of what will (no matter how much some of you may hate it) be more and more prevalent.
Bear is a valid therapy tool and I can attest that although skeptical at first, he has already helped me more than any other tool I have used. When I was a weeping ball of a person after some stressful events, Bear was there and although I felt odd at first using him to cry on, I was amazed at how fast and how well he realized I needed him, and not only allowed me to release all my hurt onto him (in form of tears) but he made me laugh a little because he was trying to offer me Bear kisses… Those who are reading who were touched by Bear knows Bear’s kisses… When Bear thinks I’m hurting he will try to bring me things.. My shoes, his “funky chicken”.. anything he thinks will make me smile.
So yes.. Bear and I are now a certified service dog and handler team! I am so excited to graduate tomorrow… Nervous about all the media but Bear will help me!