The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

SFC ZEKE |

January 03, 2012

Name: C.J. Grisham
Returned from: Iraq
Deployed to: Afghanistan
Milblog: Afghanistan War Journal

Today, I listened to the advice of more than a few people and finally went to the TMC and Combat Stress hospital. My right hand hasn’t stopped twitching after nearly a month and it’s beyond irritating. I’m not sleeping, not eating, and highly irritable. I’ve been under a lot of stress and feel like many of those above me are just making things worse.

So, for three hours today, I sat and got to revisit many issues related to my PTSD, depression, and anxiety as well as some new ones. While waiting to speak with one of the case workers, I had the opportunity of sitting down with “SFC Zeke.”

Zeke looked very busy when I entered the room, but could tell immediately I was there for business. He set aside his distraction and gave me his complete attention. He didn’t say a word. Just sat there and listened to me. He didn’t judge me; he didn’t interrupt me; and he never blamed me. In five minutes, Zeke did what few others could do having just met me -- he calmed me down and made me feel like I was worth listening to. I want to introduce you to Zeke:

“SFC Zeke” is a Vet Dog. These dogs are raised from puppyhood around the military. They are used to the sounds, the business, and the chaos that accompanies military service. They are Labs, which are the most laid back and gentle dogs.

When I walked into the room, Zeke was going to town on his bone. He looked up, saw me, and -- I kid you not -- placed the bone off to the side in an “it’s time to go to work” fashion. He was no longer focused on his chew toy, but on his patient -- me. While it sounds hokey, I can now see the value in having these dogs in a combat zone.

Zeke has a busy schedule. He frequently visits other FOBs and checkpoints to visit with other troops. He works out with the service dogs and working dogs. It was refreshing to be human again for awhile and just pet a real dog. We aren’t supposed to mess with the animals around here because of fears about rabies. Dogs have a way of calming your nerves and reminding you what normal is supposed to look like.

Zeke did just that and I’m glad I got to hang out with him today. It was definitely a much better day. And I found a group of troops here to meet with on a regular basis for continued therapy.

Comments

We need more people like Zeke! Hats off to all those who train these wonderful animals for our Vets. By the way, we just released our list of Most Stressful and Least Stressful Jobs on CareerCast.com and there are two military positions on the list for the MOST stressful jobs. Would love to hear what you think. Thanks for your service!
Here's the link:
http://www.careercast.com/jobs-rated/10-most-stressful-jobs-2012

For those station on or around riverside California there care places that a tailored tovduevjust this kind of treatment. I as a MFT therapist with Corona Vet center Contact me or just google dogs for PTSD treatment. I too am a vet and currently in the processcof getting my dog trained....worth looking into.

I would like to add please please look over my grammermatical errors...working from iPad can be challenging for us Navy guys...

the chaos that accompanies military service. They are Labs, which are the most laid back and gentle dogs.

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