As a 33-year-old father with severe anxiety and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, I was looking for something–anything–that would make my life a little easier. Thankfully, with the help of two nonprofits and Southwest Airlines, I was able to adopt a very special service dog, Bowser, to help me cope with my medical conditions. Now, Bowser is an invaluable member of my family, alleviating my anxiety and helping me be a better father and husband.
Before Bowser came into my life, living with my anxiety disorder was a daily struggle. After discussing various treatment options, my doctors and therapists suggested that I get a service dog. That’s when I was put in contact with Bob Taylor, the founder of Dog Wish.
From detecting seizures to guiding the blind, service animals can provide assistance to people with a wide variety of physical ailments and emotional disorders. At Dog Wish, a nonprofit organization dedicated to training service dogs, people suffering from Asperger’s, Alzheimer’s, autism, anxiety, dementia, PTSD, seizures, and more can be matched with a dog that’s been specifically trained to help them.
I knew I wanted a dog, but I faced an obstacle- I needed to find a way to pay for a plane ticket from my home in Des Moines, Ohio, to Santa Ana, California, to pick up Bowser at Dog Wish. Thankfully, Angel Flight Central stepped in to fulfill my need.
Angel Flight Central is a nonprofit organization that provides free flights to people needing transportation for medical reasons, family emergencies, or other crises. Angel Flight Central is one of many nonprofit medical organizations that work with Southwest Airlines. As a result of this partnership, I was granted a free trip to California on a Southwest flight to adopt my new four-legged friend.
Since Bowser has come into my life, I have been able to do things I haven't been able to do by myself in years. I’ve started taking walks around my neighborhood again, and making trips to the park with my kids. My wife can go to work during the day without worrying about my safety, and she doesn’t have to do all the shopping anymore since I can take Bowser to run errands with me. I can’t tell you how much this dog has changed my life. His calming presence will even allow me to attend college starting in the fall.
Without the help of Dog Wish, Angel Flight Central, and Southwest Airlines I would not have the wonderful companion I depend on every day. With Bowser at my side, I am building a better life for myself and my family.
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