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Gone to the Dogs

Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News May 2019

Service dogs are an invaluable asset to Paralyzed Veterans of America members — both physically and emotionally.

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Two years ago, James Tipton was perilously close to ending his life. Mired in depression after his spinal-cord injury (SCI) from a 2008 car crash while on vacation in South Dakota, the 53-year-old Air Force veteran doesn’t think he’d still be alive without his 4-plus-year-old Great Pyrenees service dog, Scooter. The Panama City, Fla., resident didn’t want to live. Then, his best friend in the world noticed something was wrong and pawed at him.

 “She saved my life, literally. I struggled being in the wheelchair for quite some time and last year, I had some pretty bad thoughts in my mind and almost wheeled myself into my pool,” Tipton says. “She’s PTSD- (post-traumatic stress disorder) and anxiety-trained, and she jumped up on my chair and started doing what she’s trained to do, pounding me in the chest and snapped me out of it. At that time, I cut my seatbelts off my wheelchair and realized how, sorry, how precious life really is.”

 

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Gone to the Dogs

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