6806 Landor Lane
Springfield, VA 22152
Service Dog Becomes Veteran's Lifeline
For USAF Technical Sergeant (TSgt) Matthew, a series of deployments took a toll on his health.
A trip to the dentist was all it took. Never having had a cavity in his life, Matt contracted a deadly bacterium that U.S. military physicians believed came from a foreign dental office's inadequately sterilized dental tools. The bacteria rapidly attacked the TSgt's heart valves and emergency open-heart surgery was the only option to save his life.
It was a long way to recovery. After a complex heart operation and previous PTSD diagnosis, Matt had to relearn how to function in everyday environments. "Going to the store...crowds of people would get too close." His anxiety skyrocketed. Something had to change. Matt got "turned around" at a meal with three wounded warrior friends. They recommended a service dog, but Matt was skeptical that a dog could be a legitimate form of PTSD therapy.
After deciding to be connected with a service dog, Air Compassion for Veterans (ACV) coordinated his flight. Exiting his arrival gate, Matt immediately spotted his service dog, Diane Rose. "I let the bags drop from my shoulder. I wrapped my arms around her and just held her."
Since meeting Diane Rose, Matt is able to go grocery shopping and so much more again. He said his ACV experience "was perfect and seamless." And for the first time in years, "I could finally let my guard down...she became my lifeline."