Meet Karin and service dog Michael

A yellow Lab lays across a woman's lap and licks her chin.

Service dog Michael licks Karin’s face while performing the hug command.

Karin Whitely & service dog Michael

Lakeland, Florida

A woman sits on a wooden bench with a yellow labrador in a service dog vest sitting next to her.

Karin sits on a bench with service dog Michael by her side.

Karin Whitely looks forward to the day when she can go out in public by herself and not feel “the constant dread of anxiety.” While a Navy petty officer 3rd class working as an aviation electrician on FA18 jets aboard aircraft carriers off the coast of California, Karin was the victim of military sexual assault. The resulting PTSD derailed her life, including ending her civilian job as a police dispatcher.

But Karin hopes that meeting Michael (“Mikey”)—a beautiful yellow Labrador that is eager to please—will turn things around for her. “My goal is to come off of some of the medicine I take for my condition and that Mikey is a replacement for that,” she says. “I consider it like the ‘all natural’ route.” Although she still might not feel comfortable going to a concert or an overly loud restaurant, Karin says “I’m looking forward to really just trying to get a more meaningful life back, doing what everyone else can do; having more free and easy access to the world.” At home, Mikey will join Karin’s husband and a feisty pointer mix named Monkii.

After years of therapy and medications, Karin feels blessed to have Mikey by her side, especially at no cost. His soothing “hug” and “watch” commands have already proven to relieve her anxiety.

Posted on September 17, 2018 | Category: Blog, Graduates, Our Dogs