Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS) – Donor Story

Service Dogs On-Duty for Veterans & First Responders Who Serve

Tara Doherty
Marketing & Communications Manager
Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS)

Crippling Anxiety and paralyzing fear kept Juliet, a 54-year-old retired RCMP officer, from enjoying life. After a childhood plagued by abuse and a traumatic experience as an adult where she was drugged, kidnapped, and held hostage — sexually and physically assaulted for days — Juliet was left broken and lost.

In an effort to take control of these traumatic experiences and find purpose and meaning in her life, Juliet joined the RCMP. At first, her uniform made her feel safe — like Superman — even in violent or dangerous situations. Eventually, though, the trauma she faced within her work combined with her past to crack through her tough shell.

The symptoms started slowly: not sleeping, anxiety attacks, flashbacks, crying after call outs, loss of her sense of balance and direction, and an inability to complete tasks.

It all came to a head in 2010: Juliet zoned out while driving and when she came to, her patrol car was resting on the median of the highway.

For four years, Juliet sought medical help and attempted to return to work multiple times. in 2015 she was finally diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD). Juliet retired from the RCMP with 11 years and 78 days of service.

Unable to trust, make connections, or often leave the house, Juliet spent most of her days alone. She could spend hours even days in a dissociative state and was on medication for depression, insomnia, night terrors, and anxiety attacks.

In 2018, Juliet found Pacific Assistance Dogs (PADS) and hope in a dog named Stark. This very special dog brought the support she so desperately needed. He was a smart, confident old soul.

Stark has had a profound impact on Juliet’s life. “Stark makes me feel safe and he is helping me recapture trust”. Stark recognizes when Juliet is feeling anxious and will prompt her to engage with him. His presence alleviates her hypervigilance and he’s a physical barrier when someone gets too close.

Stark has also helped her regain an active life. Recently, Juliet ventured out to the park for the first time in years. It was her and Stark, enjoying a beautiful fall day. “Stark provides unconditional love and support; he lets me know I am not alone.”

Behind many success stories like Juliet’s is a donor who made a gift through their estate or during their lifetime. A legacy gift can change someone’s life for the better

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