PENDLETON, Ind. —
For Joseph Jacobs, 54, his dog is worth its weight in gold.Jacobs served as a staff sergeant for nine and a half years in the Air Force. Completely blind in his left eye, and with 100 percent service-connected PTSD, Jacobs was able to acquire a puppy to be trained as a service dog with the help of the Dayton VA Hospital’s Freedom Center and Semper Fi.
“She’s changed my whole life. She’s the difference between, basically, life or death,” said Jacobs, who lives on base at Wright Patterson with his wife, Ann. “These dogs are a real blessing.”
Not only does Abbie — a young purebred AKC registered saddleback German shepherd — alert Jacobs when people approach him from behind or from the side, she helps him get through the night.
“I got terrible nightmares, the same two every night of my life. They’re always waiting for me,” said Jacobs of his terrifying dreams. Abbie is there now and she nuzzles Jacobs awake. She also retrieves his medication.
“It’s changed my whole life,” said Jacobs. Before, he said, “I never wanted to leave the house or really communicate with people.” Now, Jacobs, said, “She’s given me a lot of confidence. ... It’s allowed me to go outside, to interact with other people.”
Brenneman is now on a mission to educate people about PTSD, and to assist other veterans in acquiring dogs that can help them. He is currently working to set up a nonprofit organization, or to operate as an arm of nonprofit The Path Home, with the objective of getting trained service dogs to the vets who need them without a lengthy wait. Brenneman has already placed one dog, and last week picked up two more puppies to be placed with a reputable trainer.
Brenneman said that currently there is no VA benefit to cover the service dogs for PTSD patients, so fundraising is the name of the game. As he seeks to cement his nonprofit status, he’s already hard at work on fundraising ideas. You can bet he has his buddy at his side.
Brenneman can be reached at (765) 639-5458, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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