Category Archives: Panic Attack

Welcome Piper Tensely Willis!!

PiperiCONGRATULATIONS to Wounded Warrior Christopher and his wife Megan, who just had a baby girl – Piper Tensley Willis!!! Christopher and his wonderful SD Maggie were apart for the first two days while in the hospital – humble Christopher didn‘t want the attention to be on, in his words, “the guy with the dog” instead of his wife! How sweet! But it was difficult for him being in a small room with tons of activity and overwhelming amounts of people, trying to get some sleep with an unlocked door – totally understandable with someone with PTSD. He didn’t sleep for 36-37 hours after he took an Ambien after the nurses tried to reassure him everything will be okay. He even woke up several times to change his daughter.

He then decided to go home and get Maggie. When he was walking back into the hospital, he was stopped by Security. The officer wanted to know if I had Maggie’s “papers” with him. He told him no and that ADA states that he didn’t need to have paperwork. He informed me Security at the New Braunfels hospital has had to call the police a few times to confront people with fake service dogs. Maggie had her vest on and she was being her normal laid back self. We (the officer and I) went around a few times and I assured him my SD wasn’t a fake.

MaggieChristopher then talked to the nurses on the floor and they stated that they had already talked to their head nurse and she was aware of Maggie and was okay with her! Yay! The nurses on the floor said that they would talk to the officer if he comes to the floor. I reassured him that if he had any other problems, he could call me asap on my personal cell phone.

Christopher wrote that he was not upset nor mad at security here. He said that security had seen a pattern of events and was just acting accordingly (in security’s eyes). Christopher knows about fake service dogs in the news and also believes they are on the rise. But he didn’t feel that an officer confronting him in the dark in front of the hospital requesting papers was the right approach. I agreed. And, of course, SDs are allowed in any hospital except in certain areas where patients are immunosuppressed or there is radiation.

I will contact the hospital to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. BUT, in the meantime, the great news is that everyone is back home, healthy, and happy!!! I asked how is Maggie responding to the baby, and reminded Christopher to let the bonding between Maggie and Piper start as soon as possible. Christopher said that Maggie was doing great! Maggie is great. He was holding Piper trying to calm her, and Maggie laid her head on Christopher’s lap, saying that Maggie’s mothering nature has shined through again!


Wonderful meeting for Kimberly and Viva!

An update from Cherry Jenkins and Kimberly!

Meeting a new dog that will be trained to be a Service Dog for anyone can be an exciting experience, and it was especially wonderful for Kimberly, who met for the first time her SDIT Viva.

VivaViva and Kimberly took to each other immediately. Kimberly suffers with seizures and anxiety, and needs a dog to help her cope with every day life as well have Viva trained to detect and alert if Kimberly will have or has a seizure.

For a dog to detect a seizure, the bonding with human and dog must be intense, so the first meeting to see if they will bond is crucial.  There were obviously no worries for Kimberly as Viva took to her instantly!

SD VivaViva looked at Kimberly directly in her eyes and smiled and was happy to lay down by her side while we chatted about the entire process and our journey together. Kimberly has the wonderful support of her family, who were there at the meeting and were equally thrilled at the instant connection that Viva and Kimberly had.

The family and I got along really well too, and I was honored when they asked me if I would be their trainer. Nothing would make me happier than to work with such a wonderful family.

Kimberly’s mom, Tonya, said that she could see that Viva was going to change Kimberly’s life. I agree, and I am so pleased that they have invited me along on their journey.

Viva was adopted from In Dog We Trust rescue San Antonio.

The Amazing Nina and SD Sea-Jay

I have had the AMAZING opportunity to meet one of the kindest, most compassionate, and intelligent clients – Nina. Nina has a rather sad story. She has advanced degrees in engineering, and many years ago, while overseeing a construction site on a bridge, a large truck lost control and she was forced to jump off the bridge, landing more than 30 feet completely on her back in the water. She was in her early 30s. Needless to say, the damage to her back as a result of the fall left her completely disabled, and she had to give up the work she loved and was so good at. Since that time, she has gone through depression and anxiety, and suffers from severe migraines almost every other day that leave her completely incapacitated. One of the things that has kept this beautiful woman, now in her late 40s, going, is her passion for rescue dogs. She self-trained her first Service Dog, who passed away. She decided to rescue another dog to self-train, and fell instantly in love with a dog, “Sea-Jay”, a boxer, who is deaf. It was an instant bonding between the two of them – and knowing that Sea-Jay was about to be euthanized, she adopted him immediately. She has completely self-trained Sea-Jay using sign language, and Sea-Jay comforts her during every migraine, lying beside her making sure that a part of his body is touching hers to let her know he is there. Sea-Jay is given SO much love by dear Nina – it’s the most beautiful thing to watch their bond. We have trained both in-house and had our first public training at Petsmart, where Sea-Jay was able to perform all Public Access Commands using sign language – we just have to work on his “stay” for longer distances. Sea-Jay heels perfectly, loads and unloads, constantly makes eye contact with Nina, stays close to her side if she starts to get unsteady due to her pain, and is not distracted by anything – other dogs, cats – you name it. This is just one pair that proves how much rescue dogs, even with disabilities of their own, can be wonderful Service Dogs to responsible, loving handlers. Nina even offered to establish a scholarship in honor of her Service Dog that passed, Abbie, to be donated to, our non-profit arm. That’s just Nina – giving and compassionate to the core. And Sea-Jay gives the most wonderful, slobbery kisses!!!

Nina and SeeJay


Terryn and SDiT Sadie

An update from Michelle, our trainer in New Mexico, who is working with Terryn, who suffers from panic disorder, agoraphobia, and bipolar disorder.

“I worked with SDIT Sadie and her mom, Terryn on Saturday 6/28. Training went well. Sadie is now approx 5 months old, and had a couple sessions with the puppy obedience class. She is a bit skittish around the other dogs (approx 30 in her class), so the socialization will help. Sadie was a little nervous around my dog, Ms.Abby, however, Sadie warmed up to her after they sniffed a bit and did the proper dog introductions!

We worked on the commands “Sit with Stay” then “Recall”, and “Down” and “Leave it”. She is doing great based on her age! Sadie is still attentive to everything around her. I think that with Abby there with her showing her “the ropes”, she was able to focus a little more on the training, and learned that she got treats when she did what was asked of her. She got better and better with commands as time went on.

We eventually got Sadie to sit and stay with me, I dropped the leash, mom walked about 20′ away and called her, and she returned to mom with no issues. She never tried to go astray. Great JOB!!!!

Sadie is not used to the treats, as her puppy class does not use them. So in teaching her “leave it” with the “down and stay”, she was tempted, but finally learned that she had to not take it, and focused on other things.

Sadie is very aware of her surroundings, and Terryn kept trying to make Sadie focus on her with “watch me”. I explained that Sadie was just on alert for those that could potentially walk up to mom without her knowing.

After training, we treated both Sadie and Abby with a run in the dog park, to help Sadie socialize with a few other dogs – and she was great! She was not skittish and followed mom – even off leash.”MIchelle and SDiT Sadie


Congrats To Claudine & Beautiful Lexie

From our dear rescuer and trainer, Cherry Jenkins:

Congratulations to Claudine and beautiful Lexie, who passed their Public Access Test today!

Claudine suffers from PTSD, panic attacks, several ruptured discs in her back, and asthma.

Claudine has been working tirelessly with her Labradoodle, Lexie, for around 2 years, training for this very day!

First, we started at Target. Lexie unloaded from the car on Claudine’s command, waiting with the door wide open. Walking across the car lot with moving traffic was not a problem for Lexie, who stayed close to Claudine and walked steadily beside her in a perfect heel.

They both entered the building with Lexie responding to Claudine’s instructions, Lexie held perfect position behind the cart. Then, Claudine demonstrated for me ‘Leave it,’ placing food very near Lexie, who completely ignored it.

The team walked through a maze of obstacles, and Lexie stayed in a perfect heel following Claudine’s movements as they weaved through.

A distraction was made by me as we walked around, clattering some pans together nearby, but Lexie kept to heel and focused on Claudine the whole time.

Three types of sit were demonstrated perfectly by the pair, along with sit and stay and down and stay at at least 10 feet lengths, which Lexie performed beautifully.  A stranger approached and asked to pet Lexie, and Lexie stayed in sit while petted and remained so the entire time.

Then, after a well-controlled load back into the car, we drove to Petsmart where Claudine and Lexie were asked to walk by pets and birds. Lexie went by completely ignoring them, and at one point, Claudine sat her down right by some cats, but Lexie paid no heed.
Then, finally we drove to a cafe, where Lexie showed how she lays quietly under a table in a perfect down.

But its not over for these two! Claudine now wants to perfect her three tasks and has asked me how to teach Lexie how to retrieve things, which of course is one of my specialties so will be happy to oblige!!”



A message from a client on how much her SD has changed her life:

A message from a client on how much her SD has changed her life:

“Hi Laurie: I had a kind of terrible night. I’m mostly better, though, and it just goes to show how profound an impact my Service Dog has on my life. I thought I would go out without her tonight just for a short while to make sure she would be okay in the apartment without me, since tomorrow I will have to leave her for about seven hours when I go to my new job (I got the trial shift I told you about, so that means I should get the job and be able to take my SD with me in future weeks–just not this week). I walked to HEB which is about half a mile away–didn’t need anything, but just determined to go somewhere without her. My anxiety level got so high because I felt so unsafe by myself that I got dizzy and kind of blacked out while crossing the street – and the next thing I knew there was a car just a couple feet away from me, honking in such a terrifying way, telling me to move (as well they should). It was SO scary, especially because I nearly lost my leg in a car-bike accident not quite five months ago. Then I got to the store and there were people everywhere and tall isles with lots of stuff getting in my space and I felt trapped and horrible and I started crying just right in public, dizzy and lightheaded, having a panic attack, so people started coming up to me to see what was wrong which made it infinitely worse, and I eventually found a wall and sat down next to it to try to compose myself and then I left. I took the bus home–faster and safer than walking–and I cried on the bus. It was super awkward. NOTHING like that has happened AT ALL since I got my Service Dog – not even close. The last time something like that happened was a couple of weeks before I adopted her. Then I got home and she was just waiting for me by the door. Apparently, she had been just fine. Thirty minutes later I was totally fine.”