Personal experiences with the healing power of dogs – Part 2

My German Shepherd has saved my life and given me life. What I found in him, I never even knew to seek. This is our story of healing.

I have always loved German Shepherds. They are, in my eyes, beautiful and are well renown for their intelligence. I chose Alex because his parents were working farm dogs, charged with the amazing task of herding goats. I wanted him to be a snake herder for my rescue.

I was disappointed when he, unlike my previous Shepherd, failed to catch on to the concept. As a trainer I felt he would be a wonderful service dog, and I thought of re-homing him to a Guide Service Center. Little did I know he would soon have a similar mission without ever leaving me.

I had suffered from depression since age seven. I had recently moved away from home and was for the first time alone. I was alone and left to my own demise. As the depression and paranoia grew within me, I became isolated from the world. Behind locked doors and drawn shades, neither friend nor family knew the dire state that had befallen me.

Alex alone became my only motivation, my only friend and confidant. He seemed to know when I was at my lowest and would beg to play. He sensed oncoming panic attacks and began licking my face to distract me. Even as I sat behind a closed door staring at a pill bottle, contemplating my end, I swore he knew. Only when the suicidal thoughts came would he open the door. Only then would he become dominant in nature and make demands. Always he intervened, breaking the cycle, keeping me alive.

I am happy to say with him by my side, I am now able to leave the house and go happily into the world. With him there every step of the way, I now train dogs to assist those in need. He is my shining example to the world of what a dog can be. He shows what a dog can mean to us and what they can give to those who are disabled.

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