In August 2015, a trip to the Kingston Sheepdog Trials opened a new
path to recovery and self-discovery that I previously could not have
imagined. Meeting a K4Paws volunteer that day changed my perspective
about my recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
I grew up in Alberta cheering for the Calgary Flames, but am an east
coast guy at heart and love going back home to visit my mom and
sisters in Nova Scotia. As a 30-year-old single dad with a demanding,
professional career, I always put others ahead of myself and have not
taken the time I needed to personally heal. For decades I suppressed
the effects of being sexually abused by trying to accept the situation
for what it was despite the mental and emotional scars.
The break came in January 2015, after a very difficult December, the
“perfect” outside image I’d worked so hard to try to build, crumbled.
I faced the realization that I needed to accept what had happened to
me and to learn to move forward. Through a great professional support
system and close friends, I started to work on myself and get the help
I needed. I felt I was at the beginning of a pathway to recovery.
After the Kingston Sheepdog Trials, I researched how a service dog
can aid and contribute to the recovery of people with PTSD and met
with Samantha Knapp. Samantha helped me see how a dog can enhance my
recovery and help me regain my independence and “old self” back again.
Receiving a service dog through K4Paws will help me return to places
I’ve come to avoid, especially crowded places like hockey games with
my son and even the grocery store.
Nearly a year after my realization, I feel good about the progress
I’ve made and what lies ahead. PTSD will not define me or limit my
potential as it once did, and the K4Paws family is part of my success.
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