(97) Molly Takes a Road Trip

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)


 The Veteran’s Visit to the VA 

We left Molly at home earlier this week when William visited the VA clinic for dental work. It was not a day without service dogs, though, as we met several service animals and their Veterans. It gave me an opportunity to hand out Molly blog cards and talk with Veterans about their dogs.

I met a female Veteran, who is training her dog to help with her arthritis. Unusual amounts of rain in our area have taken it from dry to humid, causing flare-ups. This Veteran told me her dog also helps with her PTSD. She is scheduled to receive a fully-trained service dog from Freedom Service Dogs and is hoping the dogs will all get along.

Another Veteran from Afghanistan told me he trained his dog as a rescue.

“I saved him from death, as he bit his humane society handler. They didn’t want to give him to me because of the bite. He’s my best and only friend in the whole world.”

The Veteran shared with me that he has had his dog for nine years. The dog looked at his Veteran with a true love that only a dog can offer. The young man suffers from PTSD and TBI. He hopes his dog will teach a new service dog how to perform the same duties.

“It will be a sad day when he can no longer be my service dog. I can’t stand the thought.”

As it turned out, William’s dental hygienist swapped places with the hygienist of the Afghanistan Veteran, who took his dog that day. They made the swap because the hygienist of the Afghan Vet is allergic to dogs. Kudos to the VA staff for making the swap seamless to both Veterans. I am glad Molly stayed home that day even though her Veteran could have used a few hugs and licks during his appointment. William tells me Molly is too big to fit into the dental exam room.

“It was like pulling teeth to get her under the dental exam chair the last time I took her.”

The third dog we met served as an emotional support lap dog. While not a service dog, he accompanied his Korean War Veteran, enjoying each absent-minded stroke. Even an untrained pet can help calm its owner. Of course, emotional support dogs do not have public access rights under ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). The VA, however, does not seem to mind as long as they behave.

Molly’s Visit to the Buttes 

Molly’s road trip took her to Crested Butte, a ski resort town in southern Colorado. Dropping into town after descending Monarch Summit, William and I gasped with the beauty that spilled out in front of us. Snow-capped mountains, fields of purple, and shimmering aspens distinguish the landscape from any other we have seen. Even Molly appreciates the beauty, as she sniffs the air and tastes the wildflowers.

Hopefully, she will pose for a picture or two so we can share her adventures with you in a future post. Until then, she sends her postcard.

 

“To my Veterans and their Caregivers from the top of the world. I’m lake on mountain topdogified by the splendor of this place. Wish you were here and that you would bring me treats.” 

Post your Comments: 

What is your favorite place to visit with your pet? Please reply below. 

Photo credits: pculbrethgraft

About the blogger 

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