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Help my Service Dog and I to school

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Here is what I went through in High School.  This is just my story and my journey through life.  

On a spring morning, Thursday May 21st, 1998. I
arrived at Thurston High School around 7:45 am, class
was minutes away from starting. As fellow students and I were standing in the hallway. I look up to see him, only
him down the hallway Kipland Kinkel. Anger
raging from his eyes I watched him run towards us and grab for a gun in his trench coat. Suddenly bullets were flying everywhere, as I stood petrified two students were shot in the head no more than an arm’s length from me. The twom students drop to the ground and all I can see and smell is blood. The gunfire stopped for a moment as Kip runs right in front of me only to start open firing again on the rest of the school. Fighting chaos and trying to find safety, I ran into the band room. I tried to call my parents, but I couldn’t get a signal out. Locked in the hallway in between the band room and the choir room with 6 other peers. A female student comes running from the band room for a safe place to hide. I look down to see blood flowing through her jeans. At that moment we knew that she had been shot, the fear sent her running away from us out of the hallway. Maybe looking for help? All we could do was listening to the gunfire, students screaming, and the students running footsteps. We were huddled together
in the corner nothing for us to say as a slow and fearful 30 minutes went by after the first shots were fired. My father was a local Deputy at the time he got us out and escorte us out of the school. As we walked out of the band room blood was everywhere there wasn’t a safe place for my eyes to look and near impossible not to step in. Hand in hand with my dad walking down the hallway passing the cafeteria on the right. Blood trails leading to bloody backpacks and eventually to wounded bloody students. I can hardly walk with the feeling of shock buzzing through my body. Through the doors of the school media and cops surrounded the entire area, parents behind the fence line crying not knowing if their child has been shot. When we get to my Dad’s truck, he wiped the blood away and just held my hand in silence while he drives me to my Mom. We arrived at my Mom’s as I get out Dad got out of the
truck, he hugs me holds onto me so tight, cried and said “I LOVE YOU SON!” At this point, I did not realize it would be the last time I see and or touch my Dad before his suicide two months later.  August 4 1998. I was 14 years old in Seattle for the summer after the shooting, trying to process and work through that day. When everything I thought I knew about life was shattered in a moment. I learned my distant father took his life and my world has never been the same. Within minutes of waking up my day starts with images, memories, and rushed feelings. I battle constant reminders of the horrible day that changed me. This was my experience, that has only haunted me all this time. It’s been 18 years and the wounds are still on the meand. To
this day, i still have repeated night terrors, panic attacks, and social problems because of the events of May 21, 1998. With years of therapy, misdiagnosis, cocktails of medications, and just being told to “get over it” i have found a new way of handling the Trauma. I have been blessed with having to be able to train a Phsyciatric service dog specifially for my needs for PTSD.  Odin who is a 2 year old Border Collie/Black Lab mix. Odin is trained to wake me up during night terrors, keeps me calm in social situations, and watches my back so I don’t have to worry about it. Odin brings a sense of safety that I have lost many years ago in 1998. I have been unable to hold
down a job for long periods of time due to my PTSD.  It is not work I am afraid of, but it is not being in control of my environmenht rather.  Having to leave jobs to soon even when they help and make accomodations for me.  It has been difficult to live a "normal" life, and just because the outside looks secure and safe does not mean the same for the inside.  Today, I trey to accept the trauma and understand my emotions and triggers.  I push myself to break through barriers, be in more social situations, and am trying to complete a dream I once lost and that is graduating college.  I will continue to trudge this road of happiness, and take every battle one at a time.  I strive for a "normal" life,  but what is "normal?"


Rob Odin
Springfield, OR

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