...Matt would probably hate me for starting this. He has always been too proud to ask for help. But, that is exactly what I am asking for. We are needing donations for a service dog that will help him manage the continued effects that war and mental illness has on him and how it affects our family and children who weren't even born when their dad was a hero. They don't understand why we have to decline social events, be on our best behavior when dad's had a rough day, or why dad is awake in the middle of the night. A service dog would change our lives.
Matthew joined the army at age 17. We got married just after turning 19. His first duty station was South Korea. When he was about 10 months into his tour, his unit was the first unit at an overseas location to get deployed to an active war zone. He left for Iraq in 2004 and returned to an entirely new location in 2005 to Fort Carson, CO. That homecoming came with it's joy's and heartaches. We struggled together learning how to finally live together as a married couple, let alone the affects the war had and still has for us both. We needed help.
Matt tried numerous medications and counseling techniques to try and work through what he was feeling. He was evaluated through the VA for TBI, which thankfully, he tested negative for. He's been labeled and relabeled with diagnoses like bipolar, manic depression, mood disorder, anxiety, PTSD, and insomnia. There were times where I didn't know we would make it. If he would make it.
Through some medicine trials, counseling, and by the grace of God we made it through. Matt was given disability benefits when he was honorably discharged after 6 hard but life-changing years in the US Army. He is still able to serve in the US Army Reserves and also works as a civilian for the Army as well. While we have gotten through the super rough stuff, Matt still struggles with the after effects of war. He still has PTSD and has times when his anger or stress runs away with him. There are nights when he doesn't sleep a wink and times when he hates going out in public and chooses to stay home. He has had side effects from medicines or they don't work. Even CBD oil that has helped him some is banned by the military.
Our hope is that he could qualify for a service dog that will help redirect him when his PTSD gets to be too much. That will sense when his stress has become too much and can get his attention to calm him. That will keep him focused when in a crowd or at work and help him stay calm when he needs to be in charge of his surroundings. Maybe even to help him sleep more soundly.
If there is any way possibly for you to help raise funds for this life-changing dog, we would be forever in your debt. There is an organization close to home that may be able to help us. Northern Indiana Service Dogs, owned and operated by Rachel Miller offers service dogs for PTSD, autistic, and disabled customers. This is not a cheap venture, but we have exhausted our options. If chosen, Matt's dog would be trained for about 18 months and payment would include room and board, food, vet bills, grooming, toys, training materials, various outings for training exercises, and trainer expenses. Thank you so much for your help whether monetarily or prayerfully.
Sincerely yours, Alicia, Mikayla, and Maximus Linse