Nell is an Army E-5 Sergeant. She suffers from PTSD and Respiratory ailment- “Deployment Induced Lung Disease”. Her service dog is Dusk, an almost 2yr old female black standard poodle. Dusk has been trained on many specialized tasks to help Nell. Dusk has been trained on block and post, which are commands that cause the dog to come and stand either in front or behind her to give her some space from the crowd when she is getting overwhelmed in social situations. That will also allow her to use Dusk for physical comfort to help calm down her anxiety or frustrations. Post (behind) also helps her to not have to watch her back.
Dusk will alert her to anyone who approaches her from behind. Dusk is also trained to run into the house ahead of Nell when she arrives home to turn on a light so Nell can assess the situation and make sure no one is inside her home. Dusk will also then help her “clear the rooms” of her home by running into each room ahead of Nell to make sure no one is there who isn’t supposed to be. Dusk has also been trained to retrieve Nell’s rescue inhaler when she has an attack. Dusk is trained to go find Ian, Nell’s boyfriend, when he is home and she needs help. Dusk has also been taught to jump up with her two front paws onto Nell’s chest to help snap her out of a flashback or anxiety/panic attack- ideally Ian would also be able to give this command to Dusk in case Nell is too far gone to be able to react or Dusk doesn’t pick up on it herself. Dusk has also been encouraged to simply lean on Nell any time she is feeling stress or anxiety, to offer physical comfort to help her de-stress. She will also get into bed on command with Nell to help her sleep better and keep her company.
On top of all this, Dusk also knows her basic and advanced obedience commands and is allowed in public with Nell to help her navigate all of her appointments, go to work with her, and just generally be supportive to her throughout the day.
Images and biography courtesy of Freedom Service Dogs