PROFILE IN COURAGE

Name: Dan W, PTSD Client
Age: Early 30s
Status: Married with a toddler
Lives: Petach Tikva area
Work: Film and TV producer; former actor; works at a
non-profit assisting trauma victims
Partner: Valley, female Yellow Lab PTSD Service Dog

Conscripted into the IDF two weeks before the second Lebanon War broke out, Dan’s training as a military medic ensured he would see the war up close in the field operating room. After living three years seeing war’s
blood and guts, Dan left the IDF—and became one of its walking wounded.

“The nightmares started in 2013. The more I talked about it, the worse it got. At night it was like a flood that totally overwhelmed me.” As time went on, he became a hostage of his symptoms—panic attacks, fear of loud noises and crowds, and disrupted sleep, sleeping only an average of two hours a night.

To get on with his life, Dan started his own production company, produced television events, and began acting in some fringe Tel Aviv plays. Many of his traumatic experiences began to resurface during his time in the theatre. One play was set to be performed in Hebron. Dan refused to go. “My worst time in the IDF was in Hebron. I couldn’t go back there.”

He has been in therapy for the past seven years—struggling to overcome his trauma. “PTSD is an invisible disability. People don’t understand why you have this problem. They ask a lot of questions. They think they can talk freely to you about it.”

After Dan was partnered with Valley, he became a different person. “Valley changed my understanding of life. She walks next to me and with me. When I feel the world raging against me, she is there. Licking me when my anxiety makes me cry. Calming me when I am furious about myself and society.”

Dan and Valley go to the supermarket together, to cafes and malls, on escalators. “I don’t feel vulnerable anymore when Valley is with me. I am never alone. I feel completely safe just knowing she is there.

Just one of the amazing stories of courage from our many clients at the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind, who have gained independence and freedom of movement through the use of a Guide Dog or a PTSD Service Dog.
Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind, 968 Easton Rd. – Suite H, Warrington, PA 18976
Tel: 215-343-9100 www.israelguidedog.org E-mail: [email protected]