Greg and K-9 Raven
My name is Greg and I was a police officer for more than 25 years. It was a career I loved for a long time. I loved the comradery, the action, and helping people. Over the last several years, it became a job I began to hate and fear. My family noticed a shift in me well before I was able to notice it, or to admit it to myself. I was recently diagnosed with PTSD and have begun the process to retire from law enforcement. I want to believe that I can heal and move forward with time, and a lot of work. I also know it may be a lifelong struggle. My wife brought up the idea of a service dog a few times, but I wasn’t ready for that yet. When she showed me that Raven was available, something clicked. She has definitely been a positive part of my journey forward.
The things that I experienced during my career have changed me in a lot of ways. I become angry for unknown reasons, am hyper vigilant, deal with anxiety and depression, isolate myself, can have poor or strained relationships with those closest to me, have numbed myself with alcohol, and have difficulty with feeling happiness for myself due to constant self-doubt.
I’ve sought and will continue with counseling. For those that know me, I’m a very private person and have never been one to seek help. I always said that, “things will be fine” and “I’ll take care of it.” Well clearly those things never happened! In August of 2020, I reached my breaking point and felt my whole world crashing around me. It was at that point I realized I needed help. I started with an employee assistance program, all the while trying to continue working. Ultimately I realized I wasn’t going to be able to begin the process to completely heal without leaving the profession I once loved, but now hated, and became physically ill knowing I was going to have to put on my uniform for another shift.
I’m sure that the news of my diagnosis and retirement came as a shock to many because I had kept everything suppressed for so long. I just want all the skeptics out there to realize that PTSD is real. It is something that has taken not only a career I once loved, but has affected friendships outside of work, and, most importantly, relationships and memories with my wife and kids. Mostly because I was a constant A@#! PTSD affects my ability to cope with even common daily stressors, high anxiety in crowds and public, restless sleep and nightmares, but most importantly my hope of just being able to be happy again.
I’m so very thankful to Soldiers 6, specifically Ed and Dana, for this opportunity. I have already experienced the positive impact of having Raven in my life and the hope she brings me of things to come.