Meet Ronnie and service dog Ringling
“Ringling likes to cuddle. She’s very affectionate; even at home she never leaves my side. She moves with me and she likes to be with me. She comes over and lays across my feet, lays on my leg, and it gives me a minute to focus on her. So I try to be mindful, whenever she connects with me, I try to focus on it—how does her fur feel, what’s her reaction—I look in her eyes and it slows everything down for me. It takes the craziness that goes on in my head and turns the volume down on it. She’s been an awesome improvement in my life.
She makes me more comfortable when I’m in public because she distracts me from everything that’s going on around me. She makes me focus on her. She makes me slow down and I have to go at her pace. Sometimes when we walk, she wants to linger. I’m okay with that because she makes me not rush, thinking, ‘I’ve got to get back inside.’ Instead, I’ve got to take a pause. I can see it progressing, with more and more time being spent out of the house and doing things together.”
Ronnie Reid, Marine Corps veteran with service dog Ringling