Meet Army Veteran Raymond and service dog Brenna
From the day Raymond took off his Army uniform for the last time in January 2000, he buried himself in work. As a business analyst, Raymond went straight from the office to bed every day, because only isolation kept him away from the “vivid memories and internal injuries.”
“I immediately immersed myself in work, and about 14 years into that, working 14 or 15-hour days, I got an 8-hour shift. I found myself with free time on my hands and I realized something was wrong. I went to the VA and they poured medicines into me.”
Then he saw a video about a service dog and began researching Southeastern Guide Dogs.
“I went to YouTube and I saw all of the Southeastern Guide Dogs videos. Every single one. There were a lot of videos in there and once I started watching them, I was sold,” he said.
Raymond has learned to laugh again with Brenna, a yellow Labrador with a quirky personality and a great work ethic.
“In class, the first time all of the dogs got to play together, we had tears rolling down our faces. I was laughing so hard! I hadn’t laughed out loud in years. It was revolutionary!” He also says her “watch,” “block,” and “check” commands let him know that she will be “watching my back.”
Raymond tears up when he talked about the difference Brenna makes at home with his wife, daughter, son, two dogs, and nine cats in Christiana, Tenn. “My daughter wrote in a birthday card to me, ‘I look forward to going shopping with you dad after you get your dog.’ For 19 years she didn’t have a dad…I know she was looking forward to it as much as I was.”