Despite having two years of graduate-level study in microbiology, a medical degree and practice in family medicine, it took me ten years to write this book. It started as a prescription from my neurologist to aid my traumatic brain injury. My car flew off an elevated highway with devastating consequence. I sustained four surgeries, chronic pain, but worse: A diagnosis of dementia (92% disabled both physically and mentally) and going into Alzheimer's disease.
In brief, this book recounts the hero's journey of a man and his dog (both heroes) falling as far as possible then struggling back to be neurotypical.
Numerous books on training dogs, diet, and medical care are available. Here I provide only my unique perspective on service dogs as both the patient and a doctor. After my car accident, I survived with severe brain damage, many surgeries, and a service dog. Slowly, I fell into dementia, chronic physical pain, and homelessness. Consequently, a plan for suicide developed.
As my body and mind were hijacked for years, I subsequently lost my house, job, wife, and identity. My memory was so affected I could not remember my address without looking at my driver's license. Further, even if just finishing a meal, I would eat another one having forgotten the first. Losing my cerebral cortex (the part of the brain making us human) my behavior was unstable and animal-like much of the time.
What I have regained is my unique voice as a scientist and a doctor. Further, I have seen many advancements in my condition after eight years with my dog. Canines have brightened and enhanced the lives of many other severely injured patients in unimaginable ways. I hope to convince you to obtain a service animal for yourself or a loved one. These superheroes need to be on the staff of hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. They are authentic physician extenders.
This book has three sections. In the first, I recount my strange and marvelous rehabilitation with my dog. People have a vague understanding that dogs can help with diabetes, seizures, and guide the blind. They do much more than that.
A short list of aid my service dog provides are as follows: Chewy has decreased my depression and suicidal ideation while increasing my socialization and language skills. He certainly relieved my desperate isolation, increased my mobility, lessened my chronic pain. Overall, these "treatments" have lowered the medical cost of my traumatic brain injury.
The second section concerns the families, caretakers, neighborhoods, and cities of the disabled. These are all strongly affected by dogs with service vests seen in streets, stores, churches, and airports. They are ambassadors for the impaired and the sick. They can significantly reduce the burden of care on a family by giving the patient more independence.
The third section concerns the bigger picture. Delivering a lecture at the Fort Worth medical school, the societal benefits of service animals are enumerated. Understanding is spreading. Alzheimer's Centers are using dogs to keep patients calm and happy. Brain research has advanced since the 1990s and is now spilling over to include the animal kingdom.
The complex consciousness of dogs is a surprise to scientists. Studies are now occurring to raise the value of all animals. Post-surgical heart attack patients paired with service dogs do 40% better. This prevents costly readmissions to hospitals. In today's world, medical procedures can be cookie-cutter. Doctors' prescriptions are based on generic diseases, not the individual patient. Singular treatments are what I hope to encourage. Trained dogs do this by molding themselves to their owners, providing help in ways that are quite wonderful.
My hope for the reader is to understand the outstanding support a service dog can give. Then please tell someone to obtain these under prescribed knee high portable doctors. With the help of a four-legged doctor. You can take control of your health
Dr. Chewy's order's