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Waking Up With A Smile On My Face

Rebecca is thirty-five years old and is a professional shopper in Oshkosh. As a child, she attended an academy of music and loved the hours of joy that playing the viola brought her.

When she reached the age of twenty-two, she enlisted in the military and became a truck driver in the Army National Guard. She re-enlisted when she was twenty-six. Because of injuries she suffered during those years, both physical and emotional, she is now 70% disabled, including memory loss and fear of many public places.

When she served in the Guard she was often sexually harassed, and eventually became close to a boyfriend who grew more and more violent toward her. Rebecca didn’t talk about these experiences, hiding instead from the stigma that she knew would be attached to her if she told anyone.

This relationship culminated in a domestic altercation that resulted in severe facial wounds including some to her eyes, and ultimately Rebecca was hospitalized with the injuries. She was subsequently diagnosed with Military Sexual Trauma.

When she left the military, Rebecca struggled with surviving the harm she had experienced. She would become overwhelmed in stores, unable to function or establish boundaries. Because of the feeling of danger, she would become agitated when she stood with her back to walls, and normal, benign sensory input would cause her to to suffer anxiety.

She contacted Custom Canines in 2018, and applied for a military veteran post-traumatic stress service dog. Because of our long list of applicants, Rebecca waited for four years, until 2022, before she was given Bug, and that was when her life began to change.

“I wake up with a smile on my face! Every morning I wake up laughing. I feel as though I’ve been given my freedom back.”


Custom Canines Service Dog Academy has trained canine partners for US military veterans and First Responders for over 10 years, enabling these men and women to feel safer, to escape isolation, and to lead more independent lives.

We need your continued support to continue our support for them! Any gift, however small or large, is deeply appreciated by our clients, by our volunteers, and by our organization. Please will you click the DONATE button below and make that end of year gift today?


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