Terran and Hershey DEPLOYED March 2011
Posted by Jennifer on March 24, 2011
I remember walking out of Terran‘s house from the first visit that Donna, our trainer, and I had. I vividly recall saying to Donna, “I am so excited for Terran to go through this process because he really has no idea of the bond that he and his dog will create….”
Little did I know the transformation that was about to occur. It is even emotional for me to write about…
Terran Frye, a Veteran from the USMC. Very close guarded, was my initial observation. Terran did not want to talk specifically about any ‘events’, he told me on our first conversation. When we met in person, I immediately saw this that big man had a heart even bigger! Terran has a wonderful supportive family, his wife Michelle, and two cute children, Dakota 6 and Lily 2. This would be Terran’s first dog, he grew up around dogs, but never had one living in the house, side by side with him. Even as we explained the positive aspects of our Psychiatric Service Dogs, I know that living this would be the only way Terran would truly see what I was describing…..
Over this past month we have witnessed a huge transformation with both Terran and Hershey. Donna and I notice things right away, looking for body language is a big part of our training. The body language of both Hershey and Terran is important. Even upon their first meeting, it took very little time to see the change in Terran’s walk (straighter/taller), his breathing regularly paced. Terran was immediately using ‘tactile stimulation’ without even being aware of it. While talking to us, or listening to directions, Terran will reach down and continuously stroke Hershey’s head, this brining Hershey closer, for her ‘loving’ reward. Now Hershey sits partly on Terran’s foot, with her body pressed against him, her head back and up, prepared to receive her petting.
The first big step was how determined Terran was to learn and train with Hershey. He was at The Barracks (a huge advantages that he lives so close!) everyday working with Hershey. Terran’s confidence was also growing. Not only with his dog Hershey, but he was soon training and working with every dog here! Terran was the one who taught Stig to go on the treadmill (after my failed attempts!) Donna and I beam with pride to see the change from the man we met just a few short months ago. Seeing how inspired Terran was, encouraged us daily.
Hershey was a different dog with Terran that she was with us, and in a few weeks, it was apparent that Hershey was Terran’s dog. They were ready for the next part of our training process. Hershey and Terran tested for their Canine Good Citizen, and passed. Now they are officially ‘Deployed’ together as they start a new journey……
Terran still comes to The Barracks, and has a training schedule to follow together for the next six months. This is the important time where Hershey learns the changes in Terran’s emotions; stress, anxiety, depression and happiness. She learns what scents go with each emotion and what expectation is set for each. Example: When Terran has extreme anxiety, Hershey already knows to go to him, sit on his foot, press against him, and wait. One day while at the gas station, Terran was pumping gas, he was getting more anxious and angry as the station was filling up with people…..before he knew it Hershey jumped through the open window and went immediately and sat by his side!
(*Yes, lesson learned for Terran with the window down that far, but the point is that Hershey was doing her job!)
The most amazing part of this story is how Terran and Hershey spent their first week together. Stiggy’s Dogs is planning a fundraiser, an idea brought to me from Terran and Michelle. Part of our Bowling for Heroes fundraiser, is a raffle. Terran has taken Hershey with him as they have personally visited places asking for donations! Here is a man that months ago needed a Service Dog to hopefully go into stores again…..spending a week with his newly paired Service dog going into: Wal-Mart, Harry’s Surplus, Restaurants, Harley Davidson Stores, Spas, etc.
I want to scream from the roof tops……..”LOOK AT THEM!!! Look what we are doing and achieving!!”
Need I say more?