Deana Allen K-9 Nala

Air Force

My name is Deana Allen and I currently live in the Twin Cities area with my husband of 12 years, our 8 year old twins, 2 dogs and a horse. We have moved 5 times in the last 8 years and are really enjoying Minnesota so far.

To sum up my life in a sentence it would be: Raised as an Army brat, joined the Air Force and married Navy.

In the fall of 2001, I was finishing up my Bachelors degree and working at a Fixed-Base Operator in Little Rock, AR. I was dreaming of a career in the airlines when the horrific events of September 11th occurred. I had never desired to go into the military before then, but after watching those planes hit the Twin Towers, I was driven to serve.

Unfortunately during my service entry health work up, a couple of physical issues were discovered and it took almost 3 years to have them treated and cleared. During this time I pursued my Masters degree in Aeronautical Science with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. In the fall of 2004 I finally received my commission as an Officer in the USAF as a C-130 navigator and received an honorable discharge in 2014.

Several years later and after many tests, doctors and an extremely scary hospitalization due to suicide ideation, I was diagnosed with PTSD, clinical depression, severe anxiety and insomnia. That same year I was also finally diagnosed with arthritis and Fibromyalgia, which had long been suspected. In 2019, I was additionally diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia, a pinched nerve at the base of the brain stem that causes debilitating shock like sensations to the face. Overall, to say I live with chronic pain is an understatement, however, I have to stay active!

A couple of years ago, I started discussing a service dog with my therapist, however, we ultimately decided against it for a couple different reasons. In March of this year, we picked up our beautiful Golden doodle puppy, Nala, as a family pet. Each of us had different intentions as to what we wanted to do with her; my husband wanted a running buddy, my kids a snuggle and swimming buddy, and I wanted her for emotional support and therapy work. I had given up on the hopes of having a service dog because of the costs involved and several other factors, but I knew I at least wanted her to be a therapy dog so that we could help others and possibly help myself in the process of doing so. I have been teaching and volunteering at centers involved in Equine Therapy for years and thought that a dog would be a perfect complement. Nala is 5 months old, already almost 50 lbs, and smart as whip, but my training experience only goes so far so I reached out to Andy at Minnesota Canine Consulting for help with her training. Once he heard my story he put me in touch with Ed and Dana. I am overwhelmed to say the least! They were so quick to get back to me and to get the ball rolling. I’ve always had multiple dogs and horses, I know the power of healing that animals can provide, and now I will be able to benefit from my own dog too! This is truly a dream come true and I can’t wait to see what positive impacts Nala and I can achieve together in the future! Thank you Soldier’s 6!





Freya 1.webp