Paws 4 Dustin



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.

Thank you for supporting Paws 4 Dustin!


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