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From shelter dog to service dog: Local veteran gains four-legged partner

(WABI)
Published: Jan. 16, 2020 at 4:47 PM EST
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Amanda Gleason and her dog Spirit have only been together for about a month, but they've already made a difference in each other's lives.

Amanda says, "She is this delicate little flower. She always sits with her paws crossed, and she daintily takes her treats."

Spirit is Amanda's service dog, and the two were paired through the national nonprofit, K9s for Warriors.

Based in Florida, the group takes shelter dogs and trains them to be service dogs for post 9/11 veterans.

Amanda says, "She was part of a seizure operation by an animal control outfit in one of the southern states."

Amanda is an Air Force veteran and suffers from PTSD.

She adds, "Right now, she is watching my back. She knows it is kind of a hard thing for me to have an empty space behind me, and she is watching that. It's really cool because I don't feel as nervous not having my back to a wall."

Spirit is trained to help Amanda mitigate any symptoms of PTSD.

She says, "It's hard for me to sit on the inside of a restaurant booth or a movie theatre row. Window seat on an airplane is a no go. If I feel like somebody is getting too close to me, she will stand in front of me which kind of gives me that dirty dancing, so this is my dance space. There would be days at a time where I wouldn't leave my house, and when I would go out, I would be hyper-vigilant to anything that was around me. She has definitely changed my life. If nothing else, she makes me get out of bed in the morning."

While Amanda has always been more of a bird person, that has changed.

Amanda adds, "I would say I am definitely a Spirit person. I am getting to be more of a dog person. She loves to give dog kisses, that was a weird thing to get used to at first, but she has definitely changed my life."

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