When Carter was dropped off at Cowley County Humane Society by Arkansas City's Animal Control Officer, no one had any idea that in just a couple of years he would be a certified service dog helping a U.S. Navy veteran.
Dean Woodson adopted Carter in September 2014.
Woodson is an 18-year Navy veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suffered from nightmares and balance issues.
Carter was at the Humane Society for a little over two months before Woodson found him.
After being adopted, Carter underwent approximately a year and a half of training to become a service dog.
Carter was trained by Midwest Battle Buddies Inc., a nonprofit organization created to help veterans to receive certified dogs.
He now is able to sense if Woodson is suffering from a nightmare and wake him up, increasing the quality of rest that his owner receives.
“Carter keys off my endorphins and calms me down when he senses me getting upset,” Woodson said. “He's changed my life.”
With Carter’s help, Woodson has traveled to Arizona, California, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio and Texas.
In the future, Woodson plans presentations with Carter at schools, to educate children on the roles of service dogs and how to behave when they meet one.
Midwest Battle Buddies
Midwest Battle Buddies, Inc. is a nonprofit that was co-founded by Chip Neumann and Toney Turner to train service dogs for veterans — at little to no cost to the veteran.
More than 66,000 veterans in the Wichita area suffer from PTSD and nearly half have applied for a service dog. There is a two-year waiting list and many veterans are sent out of state to receive a trained service dog.
“Service dogs are proven to lower stress, anxiety and the need for medications. Statistics show that every 63 minutes, a veteran suffering from PTSD commits suicide,” states the Midwest Battle Buddies website.
“That’s 22 veterans and one active military person every day. (But) there are no known suicides of any veteran who owns a service dog.”
Turner has trained dogs for 20 years and opened Complete K9 in 2009.