I knew that I was going to need help 31 days after my return from my deployment in the Army when my brother committed suicide. That event sparked a lot of terrible emotions within our family. The Army made sure that I was going to counseling, and my doctor made sure I was taking my medication.
Some days were good and others days not so good.
About 5 years ago my wife and kids told me that I needed to get back into counseling, I was not handling things well. I was missing a lot of family events because I could not handle being in crowds with a lot of people. I missed a lot of birthdays, zoo trips and a lot of other small trips with my family.
After years of counseling and medication I was feeling like I was running out of options. The weight on my shoulders was getting very heavy and my mental health was declining.
I just happened to see an advertisement on the internet about service dogs for Soldiers with PTSD. I started to do more research to see if a service dog would even be an option for me.
I found out about Service Peace Warriors from an ad on craigslist. I sent them an email and they responded very quickly to my surprised. I didn't know what to expect and I didn't want to get my hopes up too much. I had looked into another organization over on the westside and they wanted almost $15,000 for a service dog. When I saw the ad for Service Peace Warriors, I figured they were going to be very similar or that I wouldn't qualify.
In comes SPW Abel
I actually was able to raise my service dog on my own. I asked Mary-Faith Murphy Mattox owner of Service Peace Warriors if that was an option. She was very apprehensive at first because of the commitment that it would required from me to make sure Abel receives the training needed to be a certified Service Dog for PTSD. Abel and I did a lot of back and forth driving to Eltopia, Washington for the training. I think because I was able to be with him from when he was a puppy it has created a much stronger bond. Abel and are two peas in a pod. He knows my routines and how I am. We are together every day and he is simply my best friend. I retired 2 years ago from the Army, and there hasn't been a day that goes by that he and I have been apart.
I have known Mary for over 30 years, she is a very hard working genuine person, I volunteer now and then for the Service Peace Warriors and am close friends with her husband [ also a very genuine person ] so get to see first hand what all it takes in time money and volunteer to pull something like this off correctly, this is more than a full-time job for her and she's not paid. What she and the other volunteers have achieved so far is impressive and more people getting on board all the time. If you get out there you can see first hand how the animals are fed, housed, exercised, and cared for and had the opportunity to meet with one of the veterans that receive this amazing loving gift you would want to help any way you could. If this type of cause is interesting for you and if you ever took the time to actually get out to Eltopia and visit You would probably want to be a part of this as well, Marry Mattox would welcome you with open arms offer a tour and rundown on what actually they do. Mary, I'm impressed
Met Mary, Eric, and Diesel. Mary is a Godsend. Caring and easy to talk to. She is a gift from God. For someone to do the things she does for a stranger (who quickly becomes a friend) is an amazing thing. What she has done and continues to do I am sure has saved and changed lives. She understands the battle that many Vets fight on a daily basis. She really cares, unlike many that say they care and understand, but don't have a clue. Mary cares not only about the Vet, but about the Animals just as much. Thank you both for doing what you do. I am looking forward to working with you in the upcoming weeks to get Diesel and me on the same page. Again Thank you very much.
My sister, Mary-Faith Mattox Murphy was born to work with animals. Mary-Faith grew up with our 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-Faith developed lifetime Complex PTSD. To cope with this, Mary-Faith can go out on her farm and pet her animals and train them and be as happy as can be. Living with, and raising animals, has always been healing for her own anxiety. Mary-Faith’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 have been Mary-Faith’s lifesaver. It has always been natural to her. Although Mary-Faith 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 family 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 she wanted to die so badly that she had to talk herself out of it. Mary-Faith’s experience has led her to feel deep empathy for American veterans. Service Peace Warriors is her way of giving back what the soldiers do for us. Mary-Faith 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 PTSD would block her from experiencing. Teaming up with a service dog opens up a new world to the Veteran with PTSD. It is not just the dog that makes a difference to the Veterans lives. Members of the public tend to treat people with animals with kindness and compassion. So going to the grocery store with a service dog is healing in itself because of the empathetic human connections that occur. Strangers go out of their way to offer help to the person with the dog. My sister is fair, just, kind, caring and extremely passionate about never causing harm to any person or any animal. She is one of the most respected person I know.