Tank& I

Habits And Similarities

“God gives you tools that are cut to your own specificities to draw out your true potential.”

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I woke up exhausted today. Felt like I hadn’t slept all night, dreamt that I was back in the military training for war.It felt too real, sometimes I can’t recognize the difference between sleeping and being awake.  Aleah had school off today, I felt bad that I couldn’t play with her because I kept nodding off. She played in her playroom while I slept for 2 hours.

Tank slept right next to me on the floor. I woke up a few times to Tank dreaming with Aleah in the background playing with her dolls. He was whimpering and growling while his paws jerked back and forth like he was chasing something. He jerked awake in the middle of one and looked straight at me. I told him it was ok and placed my hand on him while he laid his head back down and feel asleep. He reminded me of myself and the nightmares I have on a daily basis, except when I jerk awake my shirt is usually drenched in sweat and I have no one to tell me it’s ok. I hope in the future that Tank can be trained to wake me up with his paw or a gentle lick to the face to wake me up.

Tank has started to whimper when I leave him in his crate. I can hear him crying out to me as I’m putting my shoes on as if something is wrong with him. I’ve tried to ignore him, but I feel like he is hurting somehow or sad to be in the crate. I took him out to relieve himself, but he didn’t. I brought him inside and waited for him to drink or eat something but he didn’t. I figured he just didn’t want me to leave, but I had no choice but to leave him in his cage whimpering while Aleah and I grabbed lunch.

Later, I asked my trainer Lindsay what Tank’s problem was and she sent me an email explaining that he was just fine. He was trying to test his limits to see if I would stay with him. She explained that now he is comfortable with me and the house so he doesn’t want to be in his safety area. She gave me a few suggestions on how to help him not for a habit of whimpering while inside of his crate because he will need to be in it at times.

Overall, I feel safer around Tank every day and I know he feels the same about me. He follows my cues on time and learned new cues in days. I’m proud that I was able to pair with such a smart and beautiful dog. It’s amazing how much anxiety a dog can help a person relieve. It’s an extra bonus that he gets along so well with my baby girl.img_0258

Author of Combat Medic : A soldier's story of the Iraq war and PTSD.Served as a combat medic on the front lines in operation Iraqi freedom/ enduring freedom. Medically retired from the Army in 2006 with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, retired from the VA hospital since 2013. After struggling with PTSD and suicide for twelve years I have made it my priority to share my story with as meany people as I can to help America understand what it's like being a combat veteran back home from war. It is my hope that other veterans can relate to my life and take use the same tools as me to live a better life with PTSD.

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