One of my life’s greatest experiences was meeting Medric Cousineau and his dog Thai last year in Calgary, Canada. His speech on living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and how his trained dog Thai improves his life brought the room to tears. Medric has just published a book – sharing his personal story. I cannot encourage everyone enough to read this book.
Thanks to my friend and pet food safety advocate Rodney Habib, I was invited to participate in the 2014 Urban Animal Summit in Calgary, Canada. There my fortune was to meet Medric Cousineau, his wife, and his dog Thai. It was an experience I will never forget.
Medric spoke to the crowd about the organization he started – Paws Fur Thought – which provides service animals for those suffering from PTSD. When he approached the podium, his dog Thai was beside him. As he explained his years of challenges due to PTSD, Thai began to tug on her leash (held by Medric). She is trained to notice when Medric experiences stress – her job is to ‘pull’ him back from situations that could be harmful emotionally. Medric would settle Thai, let her know he was ok, and go back to his speech.
Again this gallant dog would tug on her leash, trying to pull Medric away from the stressful situation – telling him ‘you need to stop – I’m trying to protect you’. Medric continued. At this point the room knew we were witnessing the miracle of service animals.
He told us what help Thai provides him. She wakes him up from night terrors – often before they even begin. She allows him to go in public again, being by his side and protecting him from stressful situations. As Medric continued to share his story and his work to provide service dogs to others suffering from PTSD (everyone from veterans to sexual abuse victims), Thai continued to be concerned for her partner. She kept trying to pull Medric from this emotional situation. And when she jumped up with her front feet on his back – trying to physically push him away from the stress – the entire room was in tears. To see, first hand, what these animals do…words cannot describe.
If you ever get the opportunity to meet Medric and Thai – do not hesitate. To hear him speak, to meet Thai – is life altering. But in the meantime, you are given the opportunity to know him through his book ‘Further Than Yesterday, That’s All That Counts’.
Further Than Yesterday explains the details of Medric’s life – before and after PTSD. The details are not always easy to read, but…they are significantly important for everyone to know. The reason – because Medric’s words will help so, so many. This wonderful man struggles, his dog his savior, and he knows many out there don’t have their desperately needed service animal savior. The book explains his story and his ongoing efforts to help others.
Medric proudly served in the Canadian Military, proudly devoted his life to his country. After one horrible event, his life was never the same. Medric walks the reader through the horrible event in detail, and in detail he explains the many challenges faced by those who suffer PTSD.
One of the best parts of the book to me, was the story of Medric meeting Thai for the first time. It was my first cry reading the book. A good cry. The first meeting of this amazing dog with her amazing person – is a miracle in itself.
The book also shares Medric’s never ending campaign to help others suffering from PTSD. He walked a half marathon a day for 50 straight days across Canada to bring awareness of the need of PTSD service animals for veterans. He gave speeches all along the way. He was determined to get the Canadian military to accept the fact that veterans lives are changed dramatically for the better with service animals. His determination paid off. Canada is now studying the service dog program for veterans.
He is a true hero. He is evidence that one person can make a difference. One person can change the world. His story is one I encourage everyone to read. Whether you are a veteran or love a veteran – read this book. For anyone that has struggled with depression or anxiety or love someone who does – read this book. If you work in the mental health field – read this book. Dog trainers – especially those that train service dogs – read this book.
Here is the link to purchase the book from Amazon:
Here is Medric’s website that raises money to obtain PTSD service animals for those in need – and awareness of PTSD: http://www.pawsfurthought.com/
Here is Medric’s Paws fur Thought Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Paws-Fur-Thought-165464803600780/?fref=ts
Again, if you ever get the opportunity to hear Medric speak – don’t hesitate (TED talks needs to contact Medric). I honestly feel a movie should be made of his story. But in the meantime, read his book.
And by the way, under Rodney’s guidance – Thai is provided a food grade pet food (no feed grade).
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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