Local teen with PTSD to receive service dog

Local teen with PTSD to receive service dog
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Halo was only eight weeks old when Freedom Fur sent her to Phoenix to begin service dog training in October of last year.

Two months ago, the non-profit learned of a girl with PTSD right here in Amarillo and decided Halo would be the perfect fit.

Grace Gowdy is a teen who has been living with PTSD after being assaulted two years ago.

One of Grace's counselors reached out to her veteran parents about Freedom Fur and how they help people who are struggling with the disorder.

Grace's mother, Ivy Gowdy, said she thought they could help her daughter.

"She's been struggling just with going out of the house, doing normal teenage things," she said. "It's been really hard for her and she has already such a strong connection with animals. We talked and thought a service animal would be the best option for her."

This afternoon, Halo the doodle mix returned to Amarillo as a service dog in-training to meet Grace.

Freedom Fur typically sends their trained service dogs all over the country.

Co-founder, Joshua Brown, said they're glad to help someone here at home.

"Our whole thing, again, is serving those who serve and while their daughter is not a veteran, we can serve our veterans by serving their daughter," he said. "So that's kind of Halo's journey. She went out, she came home and she's gonna be around so we'll be able to work with her and train with the family here in town."

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Freedom Fur volunteers also do their own training with dogs after they return from outside training so they can become certified service animals.

Co-founder, Holli Brown said Halo coming back to Amarillo gives them a chance to train while also getting her familiar with her new owner.

"The most important thing is that she's super socialized and we're gonna work with her in the next week or two and just really get her ready for this family," she said.

Joshua Brown said Halo is still a puppy and will need a lot more training.

"Through the ADA, a service dog in training has the same rights as a full blown service dog, so we use that to our advantage to where they can be with their owners, go through their training, we can work with them and when we feel comfortable about her skills and her abilities we go ahead and make them a full on service dog," he said.

Grace said getting Halo feels like a new beginning.

"It's emotional to know that there's a chance that things are gonna get better," she said. "And that opportunity has like exploded almost like it's bigger and I can see it and I know that I'm gonna get better."

Freedom Fur said they are always in need of volunteers to help with raising and training dogs like Halo.

If you would like to help them assist those with PTSD, click here.

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