Mental health service dogs have vital purpose

Posted at 6:09 PM, Feb 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 08:49:07-05

KAUKAUNA, Wis.- Outrage as a Kaukauna veteran says his employer won't allow his service dog at work which is putting his livelihood in jeopardy.

When NBC26 told L and S Electric about the story they issued a statement saying they're working to accommodate the animal.

It brings up the question, how important are service dogs to those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD?
Shaun Kettner would argue service dogs are vital to him being able to function.  He says he's finally at ease thanks to Sig.
"Since he's been home I get more sleep, the anxiety at the home has been down," said Kettner.
A trained K9 is helping the Marine who served in Iraq, cope with his PTSD, but now his employer in Appleton won't let Sig come to work with him.
"It's getting frustrating,"explains Kettner.
The stress is pushing Kettner's anxiety to a breaking point.  That's something Mike Crum, director of veteran's services at the Center for Suicide Awareness in Kaukauna says can be bad.
"It's really hard to de-escalate somebody once that bubble kind of pops," said Crum.
He says service dogs like Sig can sometimes be the only thing that keeps that bubble from popping.
"The dog is trained to notice different triggers so if the person starts to maybe shake or if their voice changes," said Crum.
Sig even wakes up Kettner when he's having a nightmare.
"They get that person to a way that they can just kind of breathe and relax and focus on reality again," said Crum.
Kettner is hoping his employer will give he and Sig a chance.
"My goal is to just educate them at the importance of a dog," said Kettner.
He's working to prove with a little help even those fighting the hardest battles can do great work.