SD GUN­NER

[Char­ity Part­ner] Al­pha Bravo Ca­nine [Spon­sor] Modern Dog magazine [Lo­ca­tion] Rich­mond Hill, Ge­or­gia

Modern Dog - - BODY & SOUL -

Dou­glas Ki­nard served 20 years in the US Army. Fol­low­ing his ser­vice in Iraq, he was clas­si­fied 100-per­cent dis­abled with to­tal body nerve dam­age, a Trau­matic Brain In­jury (TBI) and Post-Trau­matic Stress Dis­or­der (PTSD). Al­to­gether, he was di­ag­nosed with 43-plus in­juries be­fore be­ing hon­ourably dis­charged in 2010. En­ter Gun­ner, a four-year old Great Pyre­nees mo­bil­ity-as­sis­tance and PTSD ser­vice dog. Gun­ner and Dou­glas were part­nered in 2013, and “Gun­ner has given me a new life," Dou­glas shares. “I have pe­ri­ods where my legs and arms ran­domly co­op­er­ate with the rest of my body. This is where Gun­ner comes in. Gun­ner is trained to as­sist me in the same man­ner as a cane. I push against him to stand from a seated po­si­tion. I hold on to his harness so he can pull me up. He pulls my wheel­chair when my legs aren’t work­ing, and licks me on the face to dis­tract me when anxiety gets the best of me. He also watches my back and alerts me when some­one is ap­proach­ing from be­hind and cre­ates a safe space around me so that peo­ple do not vi­o­late my per­sonal space. Gun­ner has given me back the want to live.” In 2014, Gun­ner be­came the first mo­bil­ity as­sis­tance TBI Ser­vice Dog to be ap­proved by the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs in the South­east Ge­or­gia Coastal Re­gion. “Over­all, Gun­ner has given me back my abil­ity to feel in­de­pen­dent there­fore al­low­ing me to be more in­volved with my chil­dren and my mar­riage,” Dou­glas says. “I would not be here if it weren’t for Gun­ner. Gun­ner is my hero and my bat­tle buddy. I can­not do life without him.”

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