OXFORD, N.C. (WNCN) — A veteran from Granville County is sharing how the efforts of one organization and a four-legged friend are helping conquer her health challenges.
It comes as CBS 17 highlights Veterans Voices, and shares the stories of military veterans in our community ahead of veterans day.
Navy veteran takes great care of her dog, Artie, and in a special way, he takes care of her too.
Artie is a service dog who helps Williams with things like picking up her keys or comforting her, as she struggles with health issues like migraines, arthritis and PTSD.
She also has an older service dog who helps as well.
“They teach me how to go back out and slightly trust. Because trust is where most of my issues come from,” Williams said.
Williams was part of the first group of women to serve on combatant ships, after Congress approved women to do so in 1993.
“I felt like I was climbing a hill the entire time,” Williams said. “It was pretty rough in the aspect that I didn’t feel supported. You have an environment that was all men, and all of a sudden women are in there and the just was just difficult for some people and some leadership to accept that.”
She went on to serve in Japan, San Diego, Everette and the combat zone for Iraq and Afghanistan.
“My determination was to make 20 years, and I did, but not without the compromise of my health,” she explained.
She said chronic stress caused her health issues.
It’s something she’s studying now, as she gets her PhD in mind and body medicine. She’s also certified in life coaching and serves as a practitioner.
“I wanted to know why my body went from being able to run 15 miles a day, to barely walking,” she said.
Williams says having Artie now makes her more active.
With a big backyard, they get to play, practice their tricks, and grow their bond together.
She got him through America’s VetDogs, a charity which trains service dogs and guide dogs, and pairs them with veterans and first responders at no cost.
“Having a service dog brings back a life that I didn’t think I was going to have” Williams explained. “For a veteran out there that is still questioning whether or not they should ask for a dog, don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
“One of the things veterans do is we compare ourselves to how we were before our disability, and having a dog that doesn’t even know your history but understands where you are in the moment is so great,” she said.
Click here to learn more about America’s VetDogs.