Mike and Nico
I am very lucky and honored to be part of Soldier's Best Friend (SBF). As a Senior Officer, we were expected to act a certain way which didn't include dealing with our emotions or mental issues. As part of my medical evaluations during my Army retirement process, I was asked a number of questions concerning my mental health. My wife always knew that I have changed, but I didn't realize this until I started answering the psychological evaluation questions. After my retirement from the Army on 1 June 2017, I went to Phx VA hospital for psychological counseling in order to try to become a better husband and father. We have a daughter whom I also need to be a better person for. At the VA is where I heard of SBF and became interested in a service dog. Before SBF, dogs were the pets of my wife and daughter. I really didn't have emotional attachment to them. Now our 22 month old Springer Spaniels, Gracie & Nico (my service dog) in my eyes are truly part of our family or I should say I have become part of their family and pack. I believe I have become more caring and softer since Nico has become my service dog. I know I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but Nico is helping me to become more caring, express my emotions in a healthy way and teach me to relax a bit. Thank you for giving me this opportunity and for being such a valuable organization - I am blessed to be a part of Soldiers Best Friend.