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A hug is duct tape for the soul.


From the Chicago Daily Herald:
Chloe, a 17-pound service dog once
almost ended up on a shelter’s kill list.
Dan Sauer doesn’t want or need your sympathy.
The 42-year-old Hampshire resident and former Marine sergeant is only discussing his service dog, Chloe, to educate the public and to raise awareness for soldiers coming up behind him who could benefit from having such an animal.
Sauer, a disabled veteran who was in the service for eight years, spent nearly 10 months in Kuwait during Desert Storm and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder 13 years ago.
During the war, Sauer suffered a traumatic brain injury from a mortar round that also tore the retina in his left eye, damaged a fingernail on his left hand and affected his memory. Sauer’s experience overseas and PTSD made him bunker down at home and avoid people. For years, he didn’t seek treatment for PTSD.
“I’m a Marine,” Sauer said, describing his mentality before he finally got help. “Just deal with it; that’s all.”
Chloe, 3, isn’t your typical service dog.
Many people, used to seeing bigger dogs doing the job, mistake the 17-pound, black-and-white Bichon-poodle-shih tzu mix for a pet — even with her red service dog vest.
And she doesn’t always enjoy the same level of acceptance as a German shepherd or a golden retriever — pooches people generally associate with service work.
When they’re out and about, Sauer and Chloe get curious glances, questions and the occasional rude comment from the public.
For example, as soon as Sauer entered a store in Belvidere with Chloe, the manager came over and said, “Oh, no,” to Sauer and pointed to the exit door.
“I said, ‘Oh yeah, oh yeah!’ Sauer said. “‘This dog can go anywhere. It’s a service dog.’”
Chloe’s job is to sense when Sauer is aggravated, angry and stressed then to distract him from those feelings and keep him in check by forcing him to pay attention to her.
For example, Sauer has nightmares every night about combat.
When he’s having a nightmare, Chloe, who usually sleeps with him, will feel his legs twitching and nudge and cuddle with him to wake him up. He’ll pet her, and that will take his mind off the nightmare and help him get back to sleep.
If Sauer feels irritated at any point during the day, all he has to do is order Chloe to “lay,” and she’ll jump up on him and press her body into his while he strokes her, putting him in his happy place. She also protects Sauer’s personal space by standing between him and other people.
“She doesn’t care about the other person,” Sauer said. “She cares about me and what I do.”

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