Meet Bill and service dog Lee

service dog | black labrador | Under Armor hat | Desert Storm veteran

Bill sits with Lee, a black Labrador, while Lee performs the “hug” command.

Bill O’Brien and service dog Lee

Lakeland, FL

After Bill O’Brien returned from two overseas tours to Desert Storm and Afghanistan, this 22-year Army veteran remained on active duty as a recruiter. Symptoms of PTSD tried to take him down, but with support from his wife, Eisheh, and the comfort of his pet dog, a chocolate Lab named Bear, Bill pressed on. “It took me longer than I expected to adapt,” he says. When Bear passed away, Bill found himself becoming more and more reclusive, and the V.A. recommended a service dog.

“If I go out, my wife goes, or my daughters,” he says. “I’m home all day by myself—going out is my biggest obstacle.” Several encounters with dogs from our school played a role in encouraging Bill to apply. He met guide dogs and their handlers at the V.A. hospital in Tampa. He ran into a puppy raiser with a puppy at the local Publix, and she gave him a card with our phone number. Those encounters led Bill to a “goofy, playful, and very smart” black Labrador named Lee, his service dog and constant companion.

“Depression is a big thing, and stress,” Bill says. “Being alone doesn’t help, and Lee is a big help on that part. I turn around and he’s there. I call him and he’s there. I like the companionship of him being there, which I need.”

Posted on July 23, 2018 | Category: Blog, Graduates, Our Dogs