The story of Mark & Grizzly


There comes a point in ones life that they feel hopeless, you go from Daddy Iove you, to Daddy who are you, from the husband you use to be to the Ex-husband in some circumstances, your friends start to fade away into the distance, your family starts to see the changes in you while all along you feel that everyone else is the problem. That job you use to enjoy starts to leave a bitter taste in your mind as you quickly get blind sided by something that you really don't understand.  Then you hear that 4 letter medical diagnosis called PTSD.

What is PTSD ? How could this happen to me ? What am I going to do ? Does this mean I am crazy ? What you want me to go into a store, No way !! Why are you looking at me that way?

My name is Mark, I am from Ontario Canada and what you have read so far are just some of my everyday struggles. I am a 36 year old, married, and father of 3 wonderful children who have never really seen what a normal father is like because i have had PTSD, OCD, social anxiety, severe depression and anxiety since 2003 when my oldest child was born, I often find myself asking the question " Will I ever be normal again ? " each day there was no better than other ones that had gone by, same old routine day after day, wake up, kids to school, return home and sleep my day away until I had to go pick them up after school.

Imagine not going into your children's school to pick them up, not going into the store or in public in fear of a trigger, not owning a vehicle without tinted windows because you don't want to be seen, it sounds sad but that is how I was, until I was granted a second chance at life.

The national president and founder of the Canadian Veteran Freedom Riders (CVFR) and several members made it possible for me through a contact of theirs to be the recipient of a PTSD service dog, on October 20th, 2013 accompanied by several members of the CVFR riding ahead as an escort, Burt Berthaiume brought me my second chance at life, I was united with GRIZZLY, a 9 month old German Shepherd who was here to help me conquer my struggles with PTSD.

Since I received Grizzly I have been having better days, I would be lying if I were to say they are all better because they are not, but now I find myself more focused on learning my dogs behaviour, constantly working him with commands, socializing while out in public, and having a sense of security knowing he has my back.

I am blessed to have received Grizzly as I came well recommended by the CVFR as for the support I have and show for the men and women that serve their country and their families and those who have lost loved ones in the line of duty or injured while abroad. I feel that my service dog and I are meant to be as if it were not for him, I don't know where I would be today, would I still be married? Would I still have my children with me everyday? Or worse yet would I still be of existence… Only God knows those answers, but I count my blessings that Burt who is the founder of Veterans Of Canada – USA and K9 Unit understood my need for a service dog and agreed to provide me with such a wonderful companion and making me the first civilian in Canada or the United States Of America to ever receive one of his dogs. Special thanks to Casper from the US Marines of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina who trained Grizzly and is also the National President of Veterans Of Canada – USA and K9 Unit.

To those who are reading this I strongly urge you to never look back and let your past knock you down, look ahead because the tool you need to help you move forward is one loyal canine who will devote their life to you for eternity and will be there for you no matter what.

Ontario Canada