Axel is a husband, father of two children, and a veteran who served three tours of active duty in Afghanistan and Haiti. He also suffers from PTSD. He was partnered with Tucker, a Brittany, to help with his symptoms. Axel is grateful for the flexibility and accommodation that he experienced as he worked together with Deafinitely Dogs!
Before meeting Tucker, Axel and his wife, Ashlyn, had been talking with Deafinitely Dogs! about eventually getting a service dog for their young son who was born with a visual impairment. During those conversations, it became apparent that Axel would also benefit from a service dog.
Asking for help
Axel, like many veterans, was reluctant to accept help. He knew that many organizations are unwilling to allow a second service dog in the house, or to place a service dog in a home that has dogs as pets and/or small children. Axel felt that his son’s needs were more important and other veterans were more deserving.
“It was really hard to figure out who needs or deserves it more. Deafinitely Dogs! answered that for us,” said Ashlyn. “It was just never a question. They wanted to help both individuals with their own service dogs so they didn’t make us choose.”
Axel agrees. “I would say Deafinitely Dogs! is a great organization,” Axel said. “They are flexible, kind, willing to work with you, even as a family with small children and other dogs, to make sure it all worked together. Everything was perfect with this organization.”
Introducing Tucker Lincoln
They both agree that it was difficult at first with the other dogs and two children, but Deafinitely Dogs! worked with the Lincoln family with advance notice of the new dog so as to properly introduce Tucker to the children and the other dogs, and to help make adjustments once Tucker joined the family.
Tucker’s impact has been felt in ways big and small that the family never envisioned. When Axel has a bad day with his PTSD and doesn’t want to talk about it, Ashlyn says it can be frustrating because she is unable to help. But Tucker sees the stress and can respond without words to calm Axel’s symptoms. Axel agrees that while Ashlyn offers great support, Tucker can often help where Ashlyn can’t and he appreciates having that available to him.
Support beyond the dogs
Axel is quick to point out that Deafinitely Dogs! also helped the financial details when trying to pair with a service dog.
“They helped with raising money. We paid no money out of pocket,” Axel said. “The people at Deafinitely Dogs! were just great.”
Ashlyn summed it up perfectly: “Everything seems right. Tucker was supposed to be in our family. It’s pretty lucky that we get to have him now.”