Trista is an active duty soldier. She has served in the United States Army for nine years and been deployed three times.
Trista suffers from severe PTSD and, as a result, tends to isolate herself.
She confessed that before she got matched with a service dog, she would take multiple anti-anxiety medications to go to the grocery store. It was not unusual for her to spend up to $400 so she could avoid returning for at least three months.
When Trista came in for her interview with Freedom Service Dogs, she was dressed in uniform and wearing dark glasses. She was so uncomfortable she was shaking and could not maintain eye contact. She did mention that her therapist had suggested that she plan to try to come and volunteer once a week.
The first week Trista trained to work with her new companion, it was hard for her to trust her capabilities to work with the dogs (and on herself) but she thrived and has never been the same since. She often volunteered while she was waiting to get matched with her service dog.
Trista immediately fell in love with Crush, an Australian Shepard mix who was rescued from the Denver Mincipal Animal Shelter. The more she worked with dogs the more they noticed that she and Crush really had a special bond. Trista and Crush completed placement class July 27, 2012.
Trista is a shining example of how service dogs transform the lives of Veterans in need. Trista was able to positively work through her anxiety of social situations and even helps with public speaking engagements and events to boost awareness of service dogs and the impact they have on Veterans’ lives. This is a tremendous improvement to her lifestyle that had previously kept her isolated and alone.
Trista has excelled with her service dog education, particularly with the handler’s class. She is always willing to help out fellow students and continues volunteering.
Images and biography courtesy of Freedom Service Dogs