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the story behind the photo: #gunnereffect23 photo winner
04-21-234 mins read
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This photo was taken the day I got Tyr, my service dog, and it perfectly shows the bond between us. From the moment we met, we gravitated toward each other, and I knew he’d be up for anything life threw at us. I spent 7 years in the Marine Corps, 4 years in the Infantry, and 3 years as a Combat Instructor. I got out with all of my limbs but ended up needing surgery on my leg[...]

See the winning #GunnerEffect23 photo below, and hear the rest of Jordan and Tyr's story.

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Words by Jordan L. | As told by GUNNER

This photo was taken the day I got Tyr, my service dog, and it perfectly shows the bond between us. From the moment we met, we gravitated toward each other, and I knew he’d be up for anything life threw at us.

I spent 7 years in the Marine Corps, 4 years in the Infantry, and 3 years as a Combat Instructor. I got out with all of my limbs but ended up needing surgery on my leg. Somehow, that surgery went wrong and they had to amputate my leg above the knee. It put me in a really dark place as you could imagine. It is such a tough situation because you never know what the next step is. I tried counseling, therapy, and all of the “normal” actions people recommend. 

I was finally recommended to a service dog organization called Rescue 22 Foundation. They train “task-trained” service dogs for veterans, at no cost. The wait for them to find me a dog that fit my lifestyle, my routines, and my adventures was tough. But knowing what I know now and having the dog I have next to me every day, it was completely worth it in the end.

The day I got Tyr, he walked out of the trainer’s van and bounded right up to me. It was one of those moments where you wait 3 years for something and it finally gets here; I can’t even describe it. Every time I looked at him, I’d tear up. You have to imagine, after years of therapy and counseling without much help, finally meeting the dog who is going to improve your life both mentally and physically. The emotional impact that day had on me is beyond words. 

The trainer that delivered Tyr usually stays with the new handlers for 1-2 weeks to make sure everyone acclimates properly and a bond is built. The third morning, the trainer came up to me and told me we were all set. It honestly made me a bit nervous, but he said maybe 1 out of 1,000 guys have an instant connection… and that we paired perfectly together. 

My wife and I obviously never saw our life going in this direction. Hitting rock bottom while trying to support your family and get through these situations is mentally taxing, so having such a special relationship with Tyr is indescribable. I never have to explain to him what’s happening inside my head; he just knows how to help. Even when I’m having phantom limb pains, he comes and lays on my residual limb and helps manage the pain.

With all of that being said, Tyr and I have a lot of fun. In the past ten months, he has lived more than some people have lived in their entire lives. Whether it's going to the gym, boat planes, rafting while hunting in Alaska, or going to concerts in Nashville, we do everything together. Just being able to share our story and what he has been able to do for me is yet another positive of having him. My hope is that people who are going through similar battles or issues to mine hear my story and learn that a service dog could be the next step to help them on their journey. Tyr helps me overcome obstacles both mentally and physically, and I couldn’t be more thankful for him.

 

 

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