TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — The moment Miranda Hulse met her service dog Bolt, the connection was instant.
“I brought him back to my house on the first day and he slept with me and he’s my little shadow he follows me all around and I love him and I think it’s mutual,” said Miranda Hulse, U.S. Army Veteran.
For Hulse, Bolt is more than just a loved pet. He’s a lifeline, that’s helping the U.S. army veteran readjust. Hulse was a captain for 7 years and did 3 combat tours, 1 to Iraq and 2 to Afghanistan. She returned in 2014, and has struggled with anxiety and PTSD ever since.
“In the military there’s structure you know where you belong, everyone has a job, everyone has a rank and you know where you fall in line. And then back home you don’t have that so you’re lost,” said Hulse.
Through a non-profit called Rebuilding Warriors, Miranda got the German Shepard for free.
“They’ll jump up on their recipient or nuzzle real close and that’s a hey snap out of what you’re doing here you’re not paying attention your anxiety levels are up and the dog feels that,” said Jeff Anderson, Rebuilding Warriors Founder and CEO.
Socialization is a big part of training. Dogs like Bolt are taught to handle any public setting their owners may bring them to.
“You can see people’s faces light up when I walk by. And before I wouldn’t engage with those people I would just walk with my head down and now that I have Bolt I have more confidence,” said Hulse.