(This is way longer than expected so watch out! ;)
This is my submission for the 10 prompt, yes I’m a little behind, I believe 6 posts to be exact but you can’t plug a computer into a tree and get internet so I just have to work around my crazy backpacking schedule…anyways
No, my thing is NOT my dog (a dog is not a “thing” they are so much more than that). My “thing” is what Penny Lu is wearing: a service vest. It’s pink, black, and has reflective trim as well as reflective embroidery. It’s kind of a scratchy material which I often wonder about the comfort level for her, but she has pretty long hair and so far Penny has worn it for a year with no complaints. It’s mesh on the sides. It features some nice shiny metal stainless steel “D” rings for attaching bags you can order as well as a clip on the side that you can clip a nice little baggie holder to for, well, you know.
This object is important to me because, after fighting severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for the last 10 years of my life, last year is the first year that Penny Lu took on her full time job as my PTSD/Psychiatric Service Dog. Normally this type of service dog is very specially trained and to get one costs on average between 25,000 and 75,000 dollars (U.S.). On top of that, I live in the middle of nowhere upper midwest where service dogs for the blind and handicapped are rare, let alone a psychiatric service dog. I was unable to find a trainer or trained dog, and my brother had adopted Penny Lu as a Llewellyn Setter who was a “throw back” and unable to be sold to hunters for some problems with her bone structure, and she was very observant and introspective, so I decided to learn how to train these dogs myself and train my own dog.
5 years later Penny Lu received her vest. She is able to go in any public area, on airplanes, hiking trails, live with me, sleep with me, and exist in my world. In exchange for me buying her a 60 dollar piece of hot pink service dog equipment I get love, support, a dog to wake me when I’m having nightmares, an alarm clock to let me know I need medication, a distraction mechanism for when I am near a panic attack, a support system to aid me with my agoraphobia and particular fear of men, as well as help with some physical needs as well. Though we still need to fight almost daily to be accepted because I have an invisible disability, my life has changed.
Without Penny Lu, my partner, and that “thing” on her back, I might not be here today. I might not be traveling around the world, or backpacking, or having conversations with people. Without that thing I couldn’t even leave my apartment for fear of being attacked. Hell, without that thing there were times I considered suicide because the pain in my body was so great just to hear a man’s voice that I had to cut my arms to relieve it.
But I do have that thing. Some people have Jesus Christ and religion to put faith in, but for me I have a service dog vest and a Llewellyn Setter hunting dog named Penny who became my reason to live another day because she was able to go above and beyond the call of duty for a hunting dog. She’s a PTSD psychiatric service animal.