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Anonymous and K-9 Gracie

K-9 Gracie

I grew up in Minnesota. I am a military veteran and peace officer. I have worked in the criminal justice field for 27 years. While on active duty I was an MP. I became an MP because I grew up in an abusive home and wanted to help people. Unfortunately, I became a MST statistic. When I returned to MN, I joined the reserves as a Mental Health Technician. I realized there was more I could do to help with domestic violence than just arresting someone. I began teaching stress management, anger management, and suicide awareness.
I am currently a peace officer in Minnesota. I worked during the riots and protests in Minneapolis, downtown overnight saturation events, the riots in Brooklyn Center, and Mobile Field Force. Sometime during all of this, I became violent in my sleep and began injuring myself and my spouse. I now sleep alone and only injure myself and have restless sleep. During my sleep study, the technician recorded 30 seconds of deep sleep twice and that was it.
I have an amazing and supportive family. They helped me make the healthy choice to see a therapist. I met with multiple physicians in various fields of medicine and therapists to do what I needed to get well and stay well. I saw numerous therapists. Most were not prepared to handle what I had to say and had to take breaks during the appointment. One needed to end early, and one said we were not a good fit. I finally found a great therapist who can handle what I have going on and a team of doctors to keep my physical health on track during my waking hours.
Unfortunately, no one has been able to help with my sleep issues. I have intense anxiety before I go to sleep which include heart palpitations making falling asleep quite difficult. While sleeping, I act out my dreams. Thankfully I rarely remember them. When I do I feel sick to my stomach. I was prescribed medication to try while I was on days off and was able to remember my dreams. They were violent and graphic. Unfortunately, I cannot take any of the medications I tried while continuing to work in my current career field. I feel passionate about what I do, and I am not ready to quit. Since I cannot take medication for nightmares and there isn’t a way to work through my dreams with a therapist or medical professional, having a service dog to help keep me calm at night so I can go about my business during the day will be a relief.
Gracie is my guardian angel. Our connection was instant. She climbed into my arms. We both took a deep breath, and she went to sleep hugging me. She is my shadow when I am home and when she looks at me, she stares into my eyes and studies my face. It’s as if she can see my soul. We have been inseparable since we met. She calms me down instantly, except when she is eating my shoelaces 😊.
When I go to sleep, Gracie climbs across my chest and settles in for the night. Sometimes when I have nightmares, Gracie pushes on my face with her paws or nibbles my hand to wake me up. This has helped me get more restful sleep than I have had in years. If she can learn deep pressure therapy, that will be even more helpful. My family and friends told me they have noticed how much more relaxed I am on days off since Gracie and I found each other. I am hopeful for more positive changes when Gracie and I are trained and strengthen our bond.
Thank you, Soldier’s 6, I am so grateful for this opportunity.

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