[First Published at Life As A Human -July 13, 2018]
Tyson King is in recovery. He is a hero with a service dog named Cully who enables him to meet the challenges of PSTD. When he tells his story he is as transparent as he can possibly in order to offer hope for others with major challenges pointing them to a road of recovery.
What does this have to do with a teenager with multiple neurological challenges? They both fight their own wars on the recovery path. One battle, created by military service fighting as a solider with the horrific experience of combat duty, left Tyson with post-traumatic stress disorder. The teenager’s battle field is the war with her atypical neurology system creating multiple life challenges impacting motor and communication skills.
Alex received a diagnosis of a severe language disorder as well as developmental coordination disorder (DCD) at the age of 6. She’s spent many years coping with her anxieties and challenges. Alex’s support to date has consisted of counsellors, speech therapists, occupational and physical therapy, and a supportive family. Now a High School student, with a kind and gentle nature and a great sense of humor, she has the ability to create stories and poetry and much more. But Alex continues her health war and struggles with confidence and self-doubt, especially in social situations. She wants to become independent and go on to higher education.
How could one help the other? Tyson has created VI K-9 Consulting and training, a school for service dogs. It’s possible for him to help Alex by educating a dog to enable Alex to continue onto her own higher education.
After reading story after story in Melissa Fay Greene’s book “The Underdogs – Children, Dogs and the Power of Unconditional Love.” The stories in this book shows how properly educated service dogs matched to the person in need, enables them to lead happier more productive lives. Dogs trained and attuned to their owners have given numerous children and adults who are differently abled: balance, friendship, and courage in the dark.
Tyson has discovered this first hand with Cully, Tyson’s four footed friend. Cully is an Australian shepherd who senses Tyson’s anxiety before it becomes a full blown traumatic event. When all is well Cully relaxes at Tyson’s feet but if something is up Cully supplies the distraction needed for Tyson to find the calm. This enables Tyson to manage his PTSD disorder.
In Alex’s case a service dog could enable her to manage her anxiety, as well as be an ice breaker in social situations.
It is Alex’s hope and dream to follow in Tyson’s footsteps becoming an independent functioning member of our society. Alex’s next step is raising funds to educate a suitable service dog and herself as dog handler. You see, it’s not all on the dog. The owner has to work just as hard to care for and work with their dog counterpart. It’s a partnership.
Alex has proven to be a hard working individual through her perseverance and dedication with her schooling. And will work just as hard with her service dog.
If you are willing to help Alex with the next step towards her journey to become an independent young woman moving forward to higher education please go here.
Donations of any size are greatly appreciated and go directly towards the service dog efforts.
Puppy – via besthqwallpapers.com
Feature photo is pixabay creative commons