Meet Christopher and service dog Eddie
[Video description for our community of people with vision loss: A man in a blue t-shirt and khaki shorts walks away from the camera with his yellow Labrador in a blue service dog vest. The video continues between images of the man (Christopher) sitting in a room talking to the camera, shots of the team outside, and images of Christopher petting his service dog (Eddie). The outside video is filmed on the Southeastern Guide Dogs campus.]
Christopher Stephens and service dog Eddie
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Twenty-year Marine Corps veteran and retiree Christopher Stephens is a former small arms weapons instructor and competed on the Marine Corps Shooting Team, with deployments throughout the Middle East and Southwest Asia. Now retired, Christopher was labeled “unemployable” and says he has been “pretty much imprisoned in my own apartment” after post-traumatic stress and a traumatic brain injury left its mark of heightened anxiety and reclusiveness. But since he met service dog Eddie, an energetic yellow Lab with uniquely colored eyes, Christopher’s hopes have soared.
“Eddie was made for me,” he says. “It’s not physically possible that they could have made a better match. Before PTSD, I was outgoing and I liked to be outdoors. Now my short-term goal is to go outside or go to the grocery store on my own. My long-term goal is to do everything I liked to do before. ‘Normal’ is relative, but I’d like to get back to normal. Since I’ve been with Eddie, I felt normal. He calms me down and keeps me centered; he hugs me even when I don’t ask him to. Eddie is more than a dog. He’s my partner. He’s the best friend I’ve ever had and I wouldn’t trade him for the world. This dog is giving me my life back.”
Eddie is named in memory of Joanne Moore‘s son who passed away in 1996. Eddie’s love for animals will always be remembered through this dog.