(3) A Working Girl

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)

A Working Girl

Molly is a working girl, as you might have guessed from the title of this blog. Technically, her role is to help my husband cope with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and provide brace and balance support when he walks or gets up from a chair. That is why we needed a large dog—my husband is 6’4” and weighed 270 when Molly hired on to our household. Molly is 130 pounds and peers over the top of our couch when she walks by.

Penny and Molly are nose-to-nose

Molly girl meets Chemo girl (that’s me, Chemo girl on the left)

Unofficially, Molly helped me at home when going through chemotherapy. I developed a severe case of the dizzies and wobbles. Molly trounced to my rescue even before I knew I needed help. She nudged her way between the fireplace mantle and me to keep me from hitting my head. Once she came to my rescue, as I balanced precariously on a stepstool. Without her, I would have fallen.

Service dogs appear on the scene everywhere nowadays. While Molly’s uniqueness makes a great story, use of service dogs by veterans is no longer limited or unique. While researching this blog, I found at least a dozen books on how service dogs help with everything from assisting the blind to detecting bombs and narcotics. And, of course, Saint Bernards, like Molly, for centuries have rescued people buried in snow. (I do not think that carrying around kegs of beer qualifies a Saint Bernard as a service dog, however.)

No central database exists on service dogs. Consequently, determining the number of service dogs today compared with a previous point in time is not possible.

There is a rise in abuse of the service dog status that is raising the attention of public officials. Some individuals claim their dogs are trained service dogs to gain special access to granted privileges for true service dogs. Because of this, there is a nationwide attempt to create a central registry to regulate service dogs. (The US Service Dog Registry is working towards that goal.)

If you are curious or interested in service dogs or PTSD or if you love dogs and want to read about a goofy working dog named Molly, then this blog is for you. Stay tuned for future blogs, as we explore the uses and definitions of service dogs, take a look at PTSD, and consider the ways in which these specially-trained dogs help our military and veterans cope with the world.

Trivia Question What are the two most common and successful breeds for a service dog? (See below for the answer)

 

Trivia Answer:  Golden Retrievers and Labradors

(Thanks Assistance Dogs International)

Next week’s blogs (Tuesday and Friday) will address PTSD and the benefits of a service dog plus “Molly had a little lamb.” 

Post your Comments:

Do you have a story about a veteran and a service dog you would like to share? Please comment below or send me an email through the contact form below so I may contact you about your story.

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.