Giving Warriors the Love they Deserve
Tanner Hill is better at communicating with animals than women. That might be why he hasn’t had a second date in over two years. He’s also been extremely busy with his kennel that has become the premier training facility, specializing in supplying dogs to veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Then again, there is this psychologist he can’t get out of his head, or his heart.
Dr. Bailey Conrad would never allow the loss of half her right leg to an IED in Iraq to stop her. Every day at the VA hospital she sees patients who have lost so much more to the war effort. It’s her goal in life to help as many vets as possible to find a 'new normal', because she knows firsthand, it’s the internal scars that can be the most difficult to heal.
I always do a great deal of research with any book and I'd like to share some of what I found here courtesy of Psychiatric Service Dog Society
Tasks Psychiatric Service Dogs can be trained to do for their handler.
-Assist handler within their home.
-Assist handler in places of public accommodation (e.g. grocery stores, shopping malls, public transportation, and etc.).
-Remind their handler to take medication.
-Wake handler for school or work.
-Assist in coping with emotional overload by bringing handler into the “here and now.”
-Provide a buffer or a shield for the handler in crowded areas by creating a physical boundary.
-Extinguish flashbacks by bringing handler into the here and now.
-Orient during panic/anxiety attack.
-Stand behind handler to increase feelings of safety, reduce hyper-vigilance, and decrease the likelihood of the handler being startled by another person coming up behind them.
Such benefits are inherent in the human-canine relationship and often include:
-Relief from feelings of isolation.
-An increased sense of well-being.
-Daily structure and healthy habits.
-An increased sense of security.
-An increased sense of self-efficacy.
-An increased sense of self-esteem.
-An increased sense of purpose.
Mood improvement, and increased optimism.
-A secure and uncomplicated relationship.
-A dependable and predictable love, affection and nonjudgmental companionship.
-Motivation to exercise.
-Encouragement for social interactions.
-Reduction in debilitating symptoms.
-Greater access to the world.
Around the clock support.
Case stepped forward. “I’m almost finished, and I’ll be leaving in a minute.” He gave Bailey that lady-killer smile of his. “I’m sure she can wait another minute for me to escort her to her car.”
Tanner insisted, “No, I can walk my friend to her car.”
Friend. So she was definitely in the friend zone.
Bailey smiled inwardly as she watched the interaction of the two alphas, snarling at each other. Friends, huh. Tanner was acting very possessive for only being friends. She slid her arms down her winter coat sleeves and zipped it up. She could make it to her car on her own. The snow wasn’t that bad.
Before she made the first step onto the sidewalk, Tanner was at her side. He grabbed her hand and slid it into the crook of his elbow. “You’re going the New Year’s party with me.”
No doubt Bailey wanted to get home before the storm got worse. Although the snow delighted children dreaming of a white Christmas, it could be a nightmare for adults traveling on this holiday.
Bailey swung her good leg out and followed it with the boot-clad prosthesis. She shifted her feet back and forth, from the knee down. “Like my new boots?”
She took the hand he offered and stepped away from the car. Heat radiated up his arm from the point they connected. This always happened when they touched and it embarrassed him. This had never occurred with any other woman, but always did with Bailey, even if they casually brushed against each other. Maybe she had a high body temperature, or something.
Hoping she wouldn’t be grossed out, or worse yet, faint, he warned, “Chrys is having her puppies—”
“Oh my gosh,” Bailey interrupted. “Are they all okay? How many did she have? When did she have them? This is such great news for your breeding program. I’ll bet you’re excited.”
“Whoa.” Tanner stopped the rapid fire of questions. “Take a breath. She was having them when you drove in so I have to warn you, the tree skirt is ruined. Giving birth isn’t pretty.”
“Ahhh, she had them under the Christmas tree?” Bailey hurried her steps. “I want to see.”
She’d obviously missed his point. “It’s going to be messy in there.”
“In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a woman.” She took a step and her boot slid an inch, but balanced herself and kept on moving. “I know all about messes.”
Oh, he’d noticed all right. He’d seen her curvaceous little body in spandex-hugging running gear as she practiced for the regional qualifications for the Paralympics last year.