Andrea and Xena (UK)

I kept changing my life to avoid stressful situations until I realised, I didn't get out of the house apart from walking my dogs, and I didn't talk to anyone. But somehow, I still struggled. Luckily, time with my dogs was the only thing I could force myself to do, which is why having a service dog was an obvious choice of support when I was diagnosed with complex PTSD. It was a challenging journey because I had to train Xena, but I enjoyed the time we spent together and all her support. Officially, I was training her, but really, she was the one teaching me it's ok to go out.

I started with the generic course, and with Michael's assistance, we pretty much flew through the course. Michael, my instructor, was just amazing. Following his guide was easy and worked perfectly.

Xena now helps me watch my back when I'm paying at the till; she walks in a room first and turns lights on for me. We are not done with the PTSD-specific training, but I'm already calmer going to work, and after a very long time, I've actually done some shopping. Next, we will be working on her creating space for me and nudge me when I freeze from fear.

It has been a difficult time for me, but I'm very grateful I developed this kind of bond by training Xena to assist me, and Service Dog Training School International has been very much a part of this becoming a success.