Service dogs provide support to those with PTSD, one wag at a time

Published: Monday, July 8, 2013 at 11:29 AM.

Fisher is not just a dog to Christian Boles.

“The bond we share is more than just that of man’s best friend,” said Boles, 40, of Richlands. “He is a four-legged guardian angel. There’s been many instances where I’d be lost without him.”

Diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that stemmed from numerous deployments as a Marine, Boles now finds solace with his furry friend, Fisher, by his side. More often than not, Fisher will begin consoling and cuddling up to Boles before he is aware he is having a problem.

Fisher was already Boles’ household pet when the dog was subsequently trained by Paws-4-Vets to become fully certified as a service animal. Many various types of service dogs exist, ranging from seeing-eye dogs, PTSD service dogs to seizure alert dogs and more.

“He keeps me in check when I go from zero to 100,” said Boles, who is still on active duty. “He’s my shadow that doesn’t speak — my silent companion.”

Marines and sailors of all ranks have been very understanding when Boles walks into places on base with Fisher.

“Nobody on base really questions why I have a dog with me,” Boles said. “What makes having the dog difficult around Marines and sailors is that it means I’m walking my symptoms around on a leash for everyone to see.”

1 2 3 4 5

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top