Meet Daniel and service dog Max

 

Daniel and service dog Max

Service dog Max practices “hug” with his handler Daniel.

After serving in the U.S. Army as a 15 Tango Helicopter Crew Chief, Daniel Sepulveda came home to Crystal River, Florida, suffering from anxiety, hyper-vigilance, and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Now he has formed a strong bond with an amazing, energetic, and playful black Labrador named Max, a trusted partner and a distraction for other people, “so they don’t look at me and my true wounds as much.”

A neighbor, who is a puppy raiser, mentioned Southeastern Guide Dogs to Daniel, and his doctor agreed that a service dog was a good idea. With a wife and two young daughters, Daniel joked about wanting a male dog to balance out the testosterone. Max wakes Daniel at 5:30 a.m., which brings him back to his military bearings. “He’s helping me be more active and he’s keeping me on my toes!” he said.

“Before I came to Southeastern Guide Dogs I was concerned about getting along with everybody here,” Daniel admitted. But Daniel’s most memorable training day was at Kona Grill, when trainers and students felt so bonded that they ate off each other’s plates.

“That was a beautiful experience, the first that I’ve had in a long time,” he said. “I felt like I was a part of a group, and I haven’t felt like that in awhile. It was pretty cool.”

Army veteran Daniel Sepulveda and service dog Max, Crystal River, Florida

 

Daniel and service dog Max

Daniel works Max while practicing the “Check” command in The Mall at University Town Center.

 

Click here to continue Daniel’s story: The Power of a Dog’s Love: A Service Dog Makes a Difference

Posted on February 16, 2017 | Category: Blog, Graduates