WHAT IS SERVICE PEACE WARRIORS?
* Training dogs for returned Veterans with PTSD.
* The dog is a gift for the Veteran to use for coping with debilitating effects of PTSD.
* The Veteran and the dog are a team.
WHO THIS SERVICE IS FOR — Veteran soldiers with PTSD
Service Peace Warriors is a service for any American soldier who is in need of help with coping with PTSD symptoms as a result of war service. The men and women who went to war are the reason we can go to bed at night and sleep comfortably. We all take our freedom for granted. Freedom is not free. It costs. These Veteran men and women who have gone to war to fight for our freedom have suffered beyond our understanding and are deserving of our support.
WHO PROVIDES THIS SERVICE — Mary Mattox
Mary Mattox has trained and worked with animals most of her life. She grew up in New Zealand where she rode racehorses and worked on dairy farms whenever she could as a kid. She worked a lot with sheep dogs during Christmas holidays, and on and off over her lifetime has taught dogs obedience and tricks, starting with her first dog, Charlie, when she was 15. She moved to America when she was 17 and became widely known for her natural wisdom in breeding and raising pigs, goats, dogs and horses. She broke horses for about eight years, has been a 4H Leader for 10 years and has been involved in 4H for 18 years. Mary has always had the knack at training dogs. This is who she is.
WHERE — Eltopia north of Tricities
WHY — MARY’S MOTIVATION
Mary grew up with a torturously violent and controlling mother. She was fostered out to various strangers where she was further abused. She was exposed to multiple traumas over a long 17 year period, starting from as young as a baby. As a consequence, Mary developed lifetime Complex PTSD. To cope with this, Mary can go out on her farm and be with her animals and enjoy training them and be as happy as can be. Living with, and raising animals, has always been healing for her anxiety. Mary’s deep knowing that animals are healing for humans, along with her genuine and passionate drive to help others, led her to develop Service Peace Warriors. Working with dogs and other animals has been Mary’s lifesaver as it has always come natural to her.
Although Mary does not understand what it would be like to be a soldier, not knowing if he or she was coming home to see his or her parents and loved ones again, she has her own personal experience of Complex PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Her symptoms were so bad that she ended up in the hospital with blood pressure so high she was on the verge of having a stroke. At times in her life, to where anxiety and depression have been so severe, that she spent weeks in bed talking herself out of killing herself. Mary’s experience has led her to feel deep empathy for American Veterans. Service Peace Warriors is her way of giving back to the soldiers for what they do for us.
Mary knows what the comfort of a dog brings to her and how it changed her life. Having a dog enabled her to go places, and do things, and talk to people that before having a service dog, the symptoms of Complex PTSD would block her from experiencing. Teaming up with her service dog opened up a new world to her, and she hopes to do the same for American Veterans with PTSD.
WHY — THE VETERANS
American Veterans have written a blank check to the US government, therefore those Veteran men and women have written a blank check for their lives — so that we can sleep safely at night. Veterans with PTSD want to be able to walk out their front door. They want to be able to live their lives. These service dogs change Veterans’ lives. Many Veterans can’t leave their own homes because they may hear a backfire of a car, or hear a helicopter and start having traumatic flashbacks. For Veterans who have difficulty leaving their homes, such as going to the grocery store for themselves, these dogs open up a new world to them that they didn’t know they could have. With trauma issues it is a gift to have the company of a dog who provides unconditional loving companionship. The dog provides a sense of emotional and psychological security to the Veteran. These dogs are trained to wake the veteran at night if the Veteran is having night terrors. The dog will get up on the bed and lick them until they wake out of their nightmare. This makes the Veteran feel safer, more comfortable, less anxious and less agitated. Having that security, is a huge gift provided by that dog.