Advocates of Pitbull Terriers are judged for the fact that they defend the “bad” dogs of the world. Most people don’t believe that there is anything good about this breed of dog at all. Then you hear the stories of Pitbulls rescuing children having seizures or perhaps this story about Maximus the Pitbull helping a former Marine through the throes of PTSD.
In order to pass the crucial test of therapy dog, Maximus and Donnell Nelson, the former Marine had to go through a battery of trials – they passed that test this past Wednesday. Nelson really needed a therapy dog to help him cope after serving no less than three terms in Iraq. The man and dog needed to be tested in order to see if they made a compatible team.
In order for a therapy dog to be a good assistant, the veteran must feel safe and helped with the day-to-day pressures of real life after war. It is the normal everyday things that we all take for granted that tend to freak out veterans that have served in war; things like loud noises, crowds of people, even just being in and amongst the general public that make them cringe. Therapy dogs help with that.
Donnell chose a Pitbull as his therapy dog because he felt that this breed of dog fit his needs. Many times Pits are stereotyped; after war many veterans feel the same. This particular veteran of war felt that Maximus represented him for who he is and vice versa.
The dog was acquired free of charge from Canine Angels Service Dogs where they underwent months of intense training as a team. Finally d-day was scheduled at the North Myrtle Beach Wal-Mart where they were tested with the simple task of controlled unloading of a car. The next step was in the actual store. Each step of the way, Maximus was in control, waited for commands patiently and did not react to distractions or temptations. The dog did not even help himself to a treat until he was told he could have one.
The test went perfect; the pair scored a perfect 20 out of 20 which is great because unqualified dogs should not be assigned to veterans with PTSD. In this case, Maximus proved to be more than qualified. He and Nelson are a legitimate service dog team.
We need more Pitbull stories like this one to prove to the world that Pitbull Terriers do have a better worth in this world. We just have to give them the opportunity!