Let’s be honest; we all need help if we are to successfully navigate our individual path to a healthy recovery.
While it is true that no one else truly knows the exact details of what one another is going through, and one may be tempted to go it alone; there is a better way. Just a cursory glance will reveal others around us who have been down a similar enough path that we can draw upon their experiences, both positive and negative, to help us in our recoveries. Scripture clearly backs this up in called out in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12: “Two [are] better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him [who is] alone when he falls, for [he has] no one to help him up… Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (NKJV) About three years ago I wrote about the importance of building a strong and godly accountability network to walk alongside you as you continue your recovery journey. This, coupled with the power of adding accountability to God, as a threefold cord, makes a nearly unbeatable combination, assuming one is willing to truly pursue lasting healing and recovery.
I normally do not advocate for specific businesses, but at this juncture, I would like to break from my usual format and talk about the healing benefits of another aspect of partnership in recovery; that of teaming with a Service Dog. Many veterans, both LEO and military, are invisibly suffering. They are trapped within their own minds, unable to take that initial step of reaching out and opening up to another human being in order to receive the help they so desperately need in order to recover. One effective way to begin the process of breaking down this barrier is through teaming them with a fully trained and certified Service Dog. By working with a Service Dog, many who suffer from PTSD, TBI, or related mental health difficulties are more willing and able to interact with other people as their dogs help their emotional recovery and are a reassuring presence during stressful times.
I recently met with the President and the CEO of a local a nonprofit organization, Leashes of Valor, whose mission is to, “ensure that every Warrior receive a top quality trained service dog to assist them in mitigating their symptoms from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.” Leashes of Valor was officially founded in May of 2017, by a group of disabled Veterans with Service Dogs who have made it their goal to ensure others are able to receive the life-saving help they, themselves have received. The founding team of Leashes of Valor have extensive experience in providing Service Dogs to Veterans, having worked with one of the nation’s largest organizations of this type, K9s for Warriors. The President of Leashes of Valor said they saw the great need for this service and decided to form their own organization, setting up shop in rural Virginia, where she would have greater access to policy makers in Washington D.C. in order to better advocate for Veteran and Service Dog related issues. Though they are just getting underway and are anxious to provide much needed help, Leashes of Valor is starting small (currently one Veteran in their in-house training that lasts a minimum of two weeks) and have modest plans to expand over the next several years to the point where they can house and train up to 25 dogs while distributing up to four dogs to four Veterans each month. In addition to the emotional support, these Service Dogs can assist Veterans with physical impairments with three or more duties to improve their health and mobility.
If you, or someone you love, is having difficulties in dealing with the emotional and physical aspects of PTSD, I urge you to contact Leashes of Valor, or a similar organization, to see about being teamed up with a Service Dog as another tool for getting started on the road to recovery.
Please remember, while adding this ‘four-legged’ support into the mix may help stimulate personal interaction and facilitate recovery, there is no substitution for the healing power of God’s love, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
Taking Every Thought Captive!