A veteran soldier named Stefanie Marvin-Miller was very happy and accomplished as she celebrated her graduation from Middle Tennessee State University. She earned herself a degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology but she knew that she couldn’t have done it without her service dog, Leland. That was why when Stefanie received her diploma, Leland was right there beside her walking across the stage.
And one of the best parts apart from them walking on stage together was their twinning graduation caps. In preparation for the big day, Stefanie decorated her cap that said she hopes her dog is proud of her while Leland’s was a reply to her saying that he is. And there were a lot of paws and treat designs on both of their graduation caps.
But according to Southeastern Guide Dogs, an organization that breeds and trains dogs for different types of people who need them just like veterans, getting Leland for Stefanie wasn’t easy.
Stefanie was an Army National Guard who survived a sexual assault committed by a fellow soldier. She was only 22 and four years into her military service when it happened. The assault left her with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. But because of the technicality that her assault wasn’t combat-related, she was denied getting a service dog from a total of 11 agencies that she applied to.
During that time, Stefanie was confined to her home as she suffered through paralyzing flashbacks and night terrors brought about by her PTSD. Thankfully, Southeastern Guide Dogs stepped in to help her. According to Stefanie, the organization was the only one that has a program that accepted that kind of PTSD without any questions.
In 2018, Stefanie finally received Leland who she described as her perfect match. Leland had been with her every class, lecture, and study session and he became Stefanie’s best friend and lifeline. When graduation came, they knew that they both earned it.
Source: 10 Tampa Bay
Read about a dog that didn’t win the prize at a competition, but he did win the hearts of the spectators.