Meet Morgan and service dog Foley

Watt family with dogs

The Watt family. Back row: Jamie, Amber, Morgan, Jonathan; Front row: Blu, Foley. Photo credit: Courtney Vickers Photography

Morgan Watt worked on explosive detection as an Air Force K-9 handler, as a security police first responder, and as a civilian pilot. Then post-traumatic stress disorder came knocking on his door. Morgan shares how his service dog, Foley, makes an impact on the entire family.

“When someone faces PTSD and its debilitating symptoms, families suffer. The burden on the spouse is tremendous, and young children don’t understand what’s going on or why dad or mom can’t smile anymore.

After my diagnosis, I was grounded as a pilot and forced to stay home. My doctors were trying different medications to treat my pain, anxiety, and depression, and it took awhile to find the right treatment. For an extended season, there were no good days—only varying depths of bad days.

My wife, Amber, would later share with me the intense fear and anxiety she felt on my worst days. She left for work knowing I was home—alone—and not knowing whether I’d hold things together for another day. If she tried to call and couldn’t reach me, she fought panic in wondering why I didn’t answer.

When Foley came into my life, Amber says that a burdensome weight lifted from her shoulders and landed on Foley, except Foley doesn’t mind at all. To Foley, every day is a good day, as long as he’s with me. With Foley at my side, Amber knows I never feel alone. Foley has restored peace-of-mind to Amber.

My two young boys need a dad who is present. Sometimes—when my pain was bad or my stress was high—my boys rarely saw me smile. When I was at a low point or trying different medications, I felt numb and was unable to connect.

Foley’s effect on my relationship with my boys has been tremendous. Because of Foley, I’ve been able to reduce my medications and be more present and mindful. And even on my worst days—nearly every interaction between me and my sons includes 50 pounds of lovable fun in the mix. My boys associate Foley with me, and me with Foley, and Foley has restored joy into our relationship.

Foley chases away fear. He delivers love and affection and laughs. Foley not only saved my life, he helped me reconnect and rebuild normal, healthy relationships with my family, and we will always be thankful.”

Posted on April 6, 2017 | Category: Blog