Today’s episode is with Mel and Argos @mel.runs.with.dogs, the service dog team that loves the adventure of training and running the marathon and half marathon together.
Now living in Pennsylvania, Mel spent quite a few years of active duty, and reserve duty, in the U.S. Navy. During that time, she suffered a traumatic experience and was eventually diagnosed with PTSD after struggling with the mental disorder. The great news is that once she had a diagnosis, she was able to begin healing! Part of that process was training her dog at the time, Jäger, to be a service dog. Unfortunately, Jäger passed away at a young age, but not before Mel had already begun training her current partner, Argos.
Argos, who is a service dog in training, is specifically learning to be a medical service dog that can respond to Mel’s disabilities, which include anxiety and disassociation. Argos uses physical touch, along with his body weight to help Mel. Through the VA, service dogs are a relatively new resource for assisting those with disabilities. More than just guide dogs for the visually impaired, service dogs are able to perform many types of medical assistance and tasks. More information can be found through the VA’s Mental Health Mobility Service Dog Initiative.
Another side of Mel’s therapy includes running with Argos! Together they have trained and run several half marathons. While Argos has not yet completed a full marathon, due to his age and still conditioning, they do have plans to complete his first marathon at the Virginia Beach Shamrock Marathon in March of 2020. Argos has taken part in Pittsburgh Marathon, Philadelphia Marathon, Shamrock Half in Virginia, Scranton Pennsylvania Half, B.A.A. Half in Boston, Air Force Half at Wright-Patterson in Ohio, and Syracuse Half in New York.
For running with Argos, Mel relies on Musher’s Secret paw wax to keep his pads conditioned over the miles. For eye protection on sunny days, Argos wears Rex Specs goggles. And to stay cool on hot days, they like the the T-Cool cooling collar.
Her shout outs go to her running club CINAO (Can’t Is Not An Option) in Scranton Pennsylvania. Also she is friends with Skeeter @ptsdog_skeeter, and a moderator for the PTSDog Facebook group. Skeeter’s dogdad has written the book PTSDog: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Service Dog.
Visit the ADA.gov website to read the ADA guidelines on Service Animals.
Thanks for listening!