(1) Golly, Miss Molly: An Introduction

Molly, the service dog

Golly, Miss Molly:

A blog about a service dog and her veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the veteran and the family caregiver)

 Welcome to my blog,

“Golly, Miss Molly: A Blog about a Service Dog and her Veteran with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).”

My name is Penny and I am married to William, a disabled HB Wm and meVietnam Veteran with PTSD. Molly is William’s service dog. She weighs 130 pounds. Coming from the heritage of a Saint Bernard and Great Pyrenees, Molly resembles a gentle giant.Why a blog about a service dog and her veteran with PTSD?

I want to share Molly and William’s story to encourage military families living with a veteran with PTSD. I blog with four objectives:

  1. To learn and share about service dogs;
  2. To learn and share about PTSD and how it affects the veteran and his/her family;
  3. To understand the benefits and challenges of a service dog for a veteran with PTSD; and,
  4. To support veterans and their family caregivers on their journey, managing PTSD.

My approach is to integrate humor and light heartedness into my blog when possible. After all, a lumbering service dog with paw prints the size of Wooly Mammoth can be amusing to watch. Although there is no humor in PTSD, viewing it through the eyes of a gentle giant can make life for the veteran a bit more bearable.

This blog will post twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays. I will keep it brief and work to archive and index blog entries for easy access. Please know that I am new to blogging and have not mastered the blog environment so some things may not look quite right. I will work hard to improve them!

Let’s get started with introductions.

About Molly, the service dog

As of her doctor’s appointment today, Molly received a good health rating.

Front profile of Molly

Our gal, Molly

Enjoying a few too many treats, our plan of action is to give her more exercise to build muscle and trim down a few pounds.

When you see our redheaded Molly face on, you see the Saint Bernard influence. Her tail fans in a luxurious plume, resembling the Great Pyrenees. Molly clicks her heals when walking on our wood floors from dangling dew claws common to the Great Pyrenees.

Molly is a rescue dog we purchased through a local dog training business. We are told her family surrendered her because they could not afford to feed her and care for her properly.

As with Saint Bernard dogs, Molly drools but not excessively. Her snoring, however, is a different story. I think that if they made a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine for dogs, Molly would benefit. When she first came to us, she frequently ran her legs in her dreams. Now, she sleeps peacefully. (I am the one who no longer rests peacefully from her snoring!)

Molly completed and passed her Basic and Advanced Skill Level training for a service dog. She assists William with brace and balance and she serves as a large comforter for his PTSD. She anticipates his panic attacks and seems to know when he needs help walking, getting up, or even standing.

About William, the Vietnam Veteran

William enlisted in the army in July 1967. He landed in Vietnam on January 31, 1968—right in the middle of action on the keystone date of the TET Offensive. He had just turned 18. The army awarded William two Purple Hearts, three Bronze Service Stars, and a number of other medals. He suffered two gunshot wounds—one that nearly claimed his life.

As with many disabled veterans, William does not talk about his service except with other Vietnam combat veterans. Most of what I know of his service I gathered from waiting room discussions at VA (Veterans Administration) Hospitals while waiting with him for treatment. Only recently did I find out about his medals. He insists they do not make him a hero.

“I only did what I had to do to stay alive and help others do the same.”

My husband tells me little about his experience in Vietnam but repeats the same sentence when I tell him how proud I am that he served his country along with so many others for my freedom—for our freedom.

William and Molly's look at each other face-to-face

William and Molly’s first date

William’s doctors agreed he would benefit from a service dog. William and Molly met in the summer of 2013.

 

Stay tuned for “Golly, Miss Molly,” #2 on Friday.

POST YOUR COMMENTS:

Do you have a question about service dogs or PTSD you would like to have addressed in this blog? Please post your comment below or use the following contact form to contact me directly.

About the blogger

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her husband, William, and dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her grandchildren.