98 Soldier Service
They were still in the throes of intermittent heartache after the loss of their Shepherd service dog when the doorbell rang. Visibly anxious; her fingers unconsciously wound a stray hair behind her left ear as she turned the doorknob. Two handsome sturdy young males greeted her. Their smiles eased her nervousness. One was a six-foot tall lanky young man and the other stood two feet high on four legs sporting the classic German Shepherd coat. Their new service dog had arrived.
Years ago, Sgt. Patrick Logan was injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq. He still suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). When Patrick came home unable to adapt on his own, Mrs. Logan went into action. She found him a dog to assist with his disabilities. Her extensive research enabled her to help train Ranger to accommodate Patrick’s needs. Ranger, their first German Shepherd, helped Patrick gain self-confidence mentally, physically and emotionally in just six months. Patrick’s dexterity improved by performing activities with his live-in faux Physical Therapy dog. Every Wednesday at 9 a.m. Ranger carried his brush in his mouth to Patrick for the weekly fur brushing ritual.
In a lighthearted mood, Patrick’s wife carried her brush in her mouth and crawled on the bed toward him one evening. When she dropped the brush in front of him they broke out in hysterical laughter. Playing games like tug-a-toy and throwing a Frisbee with Ranger expanded Patrick’s motor skills. Ranger provided a good listening ear while Patrick practiced reading aloud. His unconditional dedication boosted his master’s morale.
Life was good. Ranger was already four years old when the Logans opened their home and heart to him. Shortly after his tenth birthday he passed away, ironically from a brain tumor.
They were devastated. Now somber, they’re turning to another German Shepherd named Hefner. Hefner was trained at a canine companion agency. Hopefully he would evolve into the role of Ranger’s replacement. The Logans were up for the challenge. They spent days working with Hef. The days turned into weeks. After two months Hefner wasn’t catching on to the finer points of Patrick’s needs. He was a loving dog, but not as focused as he should be for the animal assistance that was necessary.