For veterans like Kristopher Boyd who suffer from PTSD, the holiday season is usually one filled with anxiety and stress.
But this year with the help of man’s best friend, Service Dog Sunny, Boyd was able to make Thanksgiving one to remember.
“I do get overwhelmed you know, from where I was to where I am today. It’s awesome,” said Navy Veteran Boyd who served as an information service technician master chief.
For Boyd, what was once a season of trauma is now one of Thanksgiving. His life turned upside down after 23 years of service.
“I isolated myself, nightmares, very depressed always on the ready, always on the edge,” Boyd explained. Suffering from PTSD he leaned on alcohol to cope, creating barriers and separating himself from family and friends.
“PTSD almost wrecked my marriage, but because of people who said your husband needs a service dog, that’s what led us to this point,” Boyd added.
In 2019 Boyd took a leap of faith and joined the K9 for Warriors program and met Sunny. Sunny trained to keep the symptoms of PTSD at bay and keep Boyd on the track of healing.
“When I’m having hard times or feeling a certain type of way he comes, he gives me his paw so it reassures me that I need to relax,” Boyd explained.
Boyd says his bond with Sunny has given him the confidence to bridge the gap with the ones he loves and simply choose to live.
“I could’ve been one of the 700,000 and he could’ve been one of the 700,000 but instead you know, K9 for Warriors rescued Sunny and then Sunny rescued me, and now we’re both rescuing and helping each other out every day.”
Boyd is now on a road trip with his family to celebrate Thanksgiving with his friends in a safe way for the first time in years.