Service Dog for the van Dijk's

4 years after the van Dijk's experienced a house fire loosing all their belongings but more painfully 2 children they are still on a journey of recovery.
Noelle (mother) Burn survivor, 2nd and 3rd degree burns is diagnosed with C-PTSD.
Feike (father) Burn-survivor 2nd and 3rd degree burns is diagnosed with C-PTSD.
Able (9 years old) is diagnosed with C- PTSD.
Ephraim "Remmy" (5 years old)  Burn-survivor over 30 % of his body  3rd and 4th degree but continues to experience anxiety and uncontrollable anger.

After communicating with specialists and other burn-survivor families the van Dijk family came to the conclusion that a service dog would be beneficial to help the family during their long road of emotional recovery. After one of Feike's presentations about PTSD, the founder and Director of non-profit organization Freedom Fur named Joshua Brown reached out and shared about his program training and utilizing service dogs which will be offered to  men and women that serve and have served this Country. These service dogs are trained for 2 years specialized for the individuals that they will be connected with. but what is a service dog trained to address  C-PTSD? 

Dogs with a degree in PTSD service receive comprehensive training by specialists who are familiar with the many obstacles posed by this disorder. Living with this unique service animal offers a variety of benefits. The following resources provide insight on the wide array of services this special dog has to offer.

Therapy dogs are trained to calm someone having an anxiety or panic attack.These remarkable animals have been educated to look for indicators of an impending meltdown, such as crying, incessant fidgeting or twitching, or stomping. The dog takes action to comfort and soothe her owner by “hugging” or nestling up on him, or even using her paws or head to block the individual from hitting or harming himself.

Dogs can help ensure that their partners are taking medication. PTSD is a complex disorder that is often treated with both therapy and medication. Therapy dogs are trained to retrieve medication and bring it to owners in bite-proof containers.

A dog is trained to alert her owner to sounds that may go unnoticed in the event of a panic attack.For example, if a smoke detector goes off in the middle of an episode, and the PTSD sufferer is too distraught to notice it, the dog may bark in addition to taking action to calm the person down to indicate they need to evacuate the building. They are also trained to lead their human out of the house by gently biting onto a sleeve or pant leg and guiding the handler to safety.

Therapy dogs can help prevent future issues like substance abuse. This resource points out that having emotional support is crucial for individuals suffering from mental health issues like PTSD. While this aid can come from fellow humans, having the unconditional love and assistance of a trained service dog can keep emotional issues at bay and help thwart drug or alcohol dependencies that some people may turn to as a way of coping.

They give PTSD sufferers the confidence to live their lives more independently. Because PTSD can often leave people with unprovoked feelings of devastation or fear, sometimes just getting out of bed in the morning can seem like too much to handle. Because these dogs are trained to help owners overcome their issues at home and elsewhere, PTSD victims feel like their illness isn’t as big of a setback, and find it’s easier to participate in and enjoy their daily lives.

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Feike van Dijk 
Lander, WY
Freedom Fur Inc 
Registered nonprofit
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