A Canine Connection: A New Call To Service
“It’s hard, it’s very hard. Because what you may think wouldn’t be a trigger, it is.”
“I didn’t want to admit that I had any problems, I’m supposed to be the man, I’m supposed to like just hold it together and you just can’t.”
PTSD is an intense, life impacting, complex disorder. Affecting many people – Especially veterans.
“I didn’t realize how it was going to affect him when we had kids. And I don’t even know if he knew how it was going to affect him when we had kids.”
But it doesn’t only affect those who’ve endured a traumatic experience. Family members, like Dana Goodfellow, grapple with the agony it brings.
“The person I met was fun loving, had no problems in crowds, very energetic…It’s hard as a spouse.”
John Willamson served in the Navy for eight years– assigned to Aviation Ordnance.
“We built bombs, loaded missiles, the testing on the weapon systems, took care of all the stowage for every piece of flare, ordinance, marker, anything,” says John.
Like many veterans, John had a challenging time adjusting to life after serving.
“Slowly went downhill and I just got lower and lower…I thought I was good and I could handle it and it was like nothing you could do really, it’s nothing you could prevent.”
While Dana and John’s experience with PTSD isn’t the same— they both know it well. Helping them—and each of their families through this—their new four legged friends from Mission Six.”
Dana says, “Mission Six is one of those organizations about the veterans. The dogs help give the veterans an outlet and open the door to a world that has been shut off to them for so long.”
The service dogs that Mission Six have provided for families like Dana and John’s, have lessened the burden that comes with PTSD.
“Keeps me on track instead of getting lost too far in thoughts that don’t need to be thought about. And she comes over and stuck her head in my chest and I was just like (gesture). This, this is what it’s about. This is why I need you…the best dog ever!” (laughing)
To Dana it’s, “The ability to socialize again. It means being able to go to the store, it means being able to go to a park or a fireworks display with their family and kids, it’s needed. But I don’t know how it would happen without organizations like Mission Six.”
The love that these service dogs bring to the of veterans in Northern Michigan— Blessing them and their families with independence and healing.
“Even if just one vet sees this video and contacts not even just Ron, but anybody, if they just see that it’s possible. That’s all that matters,” says John.
“Any reservations I had, they’re gone, they’re totally gone. She’s giving me a bit of what I want of having the husband and father to our boys.”
After serving their country—these dogs now serve them.
Helping them after their sacrifice—helped all of us.
“She’s there to watch his back now. She’s watching his six.”