In 2002, a terrible car crash changed Chuck’s life forever. He suffered a traumatic brain injury that forced him to relearn how to talk and walk, and has been diagnosed with PTSD and depression. Today, Chuck can walk, but his mobility remains limited due to balance issues caused by his brain injury.
In 2017, Chuck’s daughters, Leigh Ann and Emily, encouraged their father to apply for a Freedom Service Dog, and upon being accepted, he was placed on our waitlist for a skilled companion dog. This spring, Chuck was matched with a handsome, playful, and cuddle-loving golden retriever named Bowser, who will assist Chuck with brace and balance, retrieving dropped objects, and providing companionship and a sense of purpose. According to Allison Peltier, the FSD trainer who worked with Chuck and Bowser during their two-week placement class, “It was evident that they were perfect for each other from the moment they met, and that bond only strengthened as the class progressed. Bowser learned how to work around Chuck’s walking sticks and move at his pace, and he also taught Chuck how to recognize the moments when belly rubs were required.”
Although Chuck and Bowser weren’t able to attend our June 23 graduation ceremony, Chuck wanted everyone there to know that “Bowser is the best thing to happen to me in 20 years.” Additionally, Emily read an email from Bowser that stated, “Chuck is very appreciative of everyone involved with us finding each other. The generosity of donors to Freedom Service Dogs is helping make an incredible contribution to changing people’s and dogs’ lives, both physically and emotionally. Thanks to all of you, Chuck and I will start a new ‘leash’ on life, supporting and loving each other for years and years to come.”