Luis and Piper’s Story

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Assistance Dogs are sometimes referred to as Psychiatric Assistance Dogs.

Luis has come a long way. He is an ex-policeman and was diagnosed with PTSD in 2017. He was medically retired from policing a year later.

With the life-saving help of Piper the PTSD Assistance Dog, Luis can look back on his journey and be proud of how far he has progressed.

At Luis’ lowest point, there would be days where his wife, Paige, was not able to go to work. She was too worried about leaving him alone for the whole day, fearing the worst.

Luis and Piper

PTSD took control of Luis’ life, especially in quiet night-time moments. Luis said,

“I used to have really graphic and horrible night terrors 3-4 times a week. I would sweat through my sheets and wake up choking and struggling to breathe.”

Luis tried for so long to feel better. He did the PTSD therapy and treatments the doctors and specialists told him to do. But he needed something extraordinary to have the breakthrough he desperately needed.

Luis and Piper

Piper the PTSD Assistance Dog

In July 2019, Luis received his highly-trained PTSD Assistance Dog, a loveable chocolate Labrador named Piper. The main skill Piper does is “Visit”, which is where Piper lays her head in Luis’ lap and releases the weight of her head, which helps ground and relax Luis when he becomes overwhelmed. Luis said,

“I use ‘Visit’ a lot, both at home and in public, as it helps me to relax and feel more secure because I can focus on Piper and not get overwhelmed by all of the thoughts that start swirling around in my head when I get stressed or anxious.”

Having Piper by his side has been a huge help to Luis when his PTSD has caused him to feel extremely distressed when he is out in public. Luis said,

“Sometimes when I run errands in town I can get really panicky all of a sudden out in the open. I focus on Piper and pet her and look at her for five minutes and then I don’t have to go home straight away and can usually finish my errands.”

At the end of the day, it is Piper’s unconditional love that has been a life-saver so many times for Luis. He said,

Luis calls Piper his “offsider”, which is what police call the officer who backs up another. She has brought so much joy and peace to their lives, and enabled Luis to feel safer, less anxious and much happier on a daily basis.

With Piper in their lives, Luis and his wife Paige can get their lives back on track and feel better about the present – and future.

It costs over $40,000 to train and place an Assistance Dog.

 

Your donation helps covers training, vaccinations, food and equipment for an Assistance Dog, who is given to a client free of charge.

 

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