Dogs are generally known for their playfulness and comfort but they can also play a crucial role in helping people with disabilities.
September is National Service Dog month and Ray Manspeaker is one of many who has a service dog. He owns a 5-year-old German Shepherd named Suzy, that is trained and tasked to help him with his post traumatic stress disorder and his diabetes.
“I’m so proud to have her and she does a great job,” said Manspeaker.
He served in the Vietnam War. Because of that he has flashbacks of his time in combat that caused trouble in his marriage and he was not able to go to public settings.
“I used to sit clear in the back, right up against the row so I can leave and now I can sit down in the middle and clear up against the wall and watch a movie.”
Today, the veteran is able to go to theaters and volunteers at the VA Medical Center thanks to Suzy.
“She’s a man’s lifesaver.”
Manspeaker doesn’t mind that people pet Suzy but he does recommend to always ask an owner first before touching a service animal.
If you have any questions about service animals, the VA Medical Center has programs that supports veterans.