Tank& I

Noticing a Change Within

I’m having good days more often than usual. I’m sleeping better because I’ve let Tank sleep outside of his crate at the foot of our bed. I really believe he doesn’t like to be in his crate when I’m in the same room so he can sleep outside of it as long as he’s sleeping all night.

Training went well today. Tank is making strides in his progress. He is showing me everyday how smart he is by memorizing cues I give him within a day. The only problem I can see that he has is with other dogs being in the same room with us. Josh’s service dog was in the room with us today and Tank wouldn’t stop growling at her and he barks at every person that passes by outside. I think he’s easily excited because he doesn’t see other people and animals much. We’re starting public training with in our next session so hopefully he will start learning to keep calm in those situations.

I gave Tank a break from his muzzle today when we were in the house alone. He still walked with me wherever I moved. He’s a really good dog, I think he is ready to start going out in public with me. I found that the only rawhide he likes to chew on has to have some type of meat flavor on it or he won’t chew it. I bought peanut flavored rawhides and Tank literally just licked the bone a few times then pushes it aside. I’m glad I only bought a pack of two so throwing them away doesn’t seem too wasteful. I gave him a beef and chicken flavor rawhide and he chewed it up in less than an hour. He is such a picky eater.

I have a sleep study scheduled for tonight at the VA hospital to test for sleep apnea because I’ve had trouble sleeping lately. The nightmares and night sweats have gotten so bad I feel like I’m not sleeping at all at night. Lindsay came to take Tank for the night. I spent an hour petting him and giving him lots of love before he left.

Driving to the VA was a challenge as always. I started having an anxiety attack halfway there which pissed me off. I felt like I was high because everything I looked at was in a haze. I tried grounding myself with breathing techniques , but I found it hard to even breath. I met with my psychiatrist when I first arrived at the hospital. I let him know I stopped smoking weed a few months ago because it was getting too expensive. Now that I haven’t smoked my PTSD symptoms have increased. He increased my medications to help compensate for what the marijuana was helping with.

I drove over to the Mall of America for dinner after that appointment. I tried a new sushi restaurant and it was pretty good. I drank sake in order to calm my nerves. I felt so different without Tank, sort of feels like being in a gunfight without a gun, super uncomfortable. I’ve noticed how bad I get without him which makes me anxious to get his vest so he can go everywhere with me.

img_0277Lindsay sent me a couple of pictures with Tank and her two labs. She said he was doing excellent and he was getting along with everyone. I bet he was excited to play with other dogs for a chance. He’s been stuck with me for the past month not receiving any attention from anyone.

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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.

4 comments on “Noticing a Change Within

  1. I suffer from anxiety, depression, and PTSD, among other things. Dogs can be such a comfort.

  2. What a powerful blog. It’s nice to meet you. I look forward to reading more of what you share. 😊

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