Letter from Emmett and Daphne

A beautiful note written by one of our amazing clients, Emmett. We are SO proud of you, Emmett and Daphne!!!

My name is Emmett Luka and I have struggled with PTSD for the past 5 years. Currently I am a double major at a very competitive liberal arts university and my goal is to teach Spanish at the high school level. The past semester in particular was incredibly emotionally and psychologically taxing. At one point, I did not leave my room for 5 days due to the overwhelming anxiety and paranoia. I knew something had to change.

In November 2014 I was given the information for an agency called Service Dog Express. After speaking with the CEO and founder, Laurie Gawelko, I was able to arrange a meet and greet with one of the assessed dogs that was being fostered by Cherry Jenkins, with In Dogs We Trust. Meeting Daphne was one of the best moments of my life. I knew instantly that she was the partner I wanted and needed.

Over the past few months, Daphne and I have done extensive training. Some of it with trainers through the agency but a good majority of it on our own.

At first, Daphne had a few triggers of her own such as motorized sounds, small spaces, and large rod like objects. Now, Daphne can walk past the patrol buggies that roll around my university. She will willingly go into the Men’s restroom and stall with me, and does not shy away as much if someone has a broom or assistance cane.

She really is the best medicine. On the days that I cannot find my way around or home, she guides me there and sits with me until the feeling of disorientation has subsided.

She is very attuned to me and the reactions I have to triggers. Just the other day I was working a night shift and suddenly became very distressed. Daphne immediately hopped up next to me, set her head gently in my hands and did not move a muscle until I was calmed. That type of behavior is not one she was trained to do, it is simply her knowing me on an incredibly deep level and willingly offering the best she has.

Words cannot express how proud I am of her for all that she has accomplished. Nor can they express how thankful I am for all that she does for me. I am proud to be her handler and I am extremely honored that I was paired with such an exceptional partner.

People always say, we are the ones who rescue dogs from shelters, but I think they are the ones to rescue us.