John was medically retired from the US Army. Coming home and adjusting to civilian life proved difficult for John and he started having difficulty with depression and severe anxiety. As John struggled to adjust he sought out support and with the help of his wife, Lindsey, they found DHH.Around the time that John was connected to DHH, Zakk was found lost in Oldham County. Tier Haven rescued Zakk and eventually sent him to Duffy’s and Dogs Helping Heroes to begin his Journey as a Service Dog. After finalizing Zakk’s training at Duffy’s, John and Zakk met and formed an instant friendship, a bond that was evident.
Zakk’s favorite things include visits to Lowe’s, eating treats, chasing squirrels in the backyard, wrestling, jumping and pouncing.“Honestly, he’s a giant teddy bear that loves to be loved,” said John.
Zakk and John complement each other as they are both goofy, and fun loving. This friendship has helped John tremendously, John says life has changed for the better since Zakk.“Taking care of Zakk has given me a sense of pride and accountability.Making sure his needs are met allows me to create awareness outside of myself and helps with my interactions with others,” said John. John considers Zakk a sidekick that makes my life so much better.He says, “I’d like to think of myself, despite my mental illness, as an average guy who has a cool dog following him again.Zakk and I care for each other, it’s a friendship that I am thankful for daily.He is part of our family and I love him.”Zakk helps him better manage the symptoms of anxiety and depression making him able to enjoy friends, family and life in general. John is no longer defined by his anxiety and being uptight, upset, and aggressive is no longer a daily struggle. With Zakk, John is back to feeling more like himself by being full of life and love, and able to extend his energy to helping others.