Life can be difficult for an Air Force veteran, especially when you have a lot of medical issues. For one veteran, years of natural treatments such as acupuncture and yoga along with medication and therapy weren’t enough to help treat her problems. A service dog, however, turned her life around.
Ashley McCaffrey is a veteran from Florida who started her career in the Air Force in 2006. She wanted to make a difference and do something for her country, so she spent 91 days in Iraq along with her squadron.
She was the only female in that squadron and she didn’t realize how much mental strain was being put on her. She just focused on how much strength is needed.
“I was the only female when I was deployed. I had worked so hard to establish that respect and that rapport that if they knew something was wrong with me, everything I worked for would be gone,” explained McCaffrey to Tampa Bay 10.
McCaffrey suffered a back injury and PTSD, which led to her retirement. She did everything she could to help with her anxiety and depression but random things continued to trigger the traumatic memories from her deployment.
CBS19 reported that she said, “Instant oatmeal! That’s another thing because my mom would send me packages of instant oatmeal and for some reason for the longest time, I could not even open a thing of instant oatmeal because in my brain, it would put me right back.”
That is when she looked to the K9s For Warriors organization. She applied to get a service dog and was accepted, although there was a two-year waiting list. Somebody was not able to attend the training due to the coronavirus pandemic, and McCaffrey took their place because she was a local. A female Labrador Retriever named Hope was ready when the call came in.
McCaffrey and Hope graduated in July and they are inseparable now.
“She’s probably saved my marriage because even my husband is like, I have my happy wife back.
I have the person I fell in love with 14 years ago,” she said, reported the news outlet.
Since Hope became a part of their life, she is now able to sleep for up to three hours at a time and can get through the stress of a workday by taking short walks and looking at her beloved dog.
McCaffrey was asked about how others may be able to deal with the mental struggles that she had. She offered this simple advice, “Don’t be afraid to ask for help because that help is actually going to save your life.”Whizzco