An Elizabethtown woman has spent the past 21 months training a dog to serve a military veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Debbie Nissley got Susquehanna Service Dog Glenn when he was an 8-week-old puppy and will have to give him up on Sept. 24. After that, Glenn is to go to Grantville for two final weeks of training with the veteran his is to serve.
“I will not be involved in that team training at all; that’s between Glenn and his new partner,” Nissley said.
Glenn is to be a psychological service dog trained to help the veteran with her anxiety.
“His main function will be to interrupt anxiety so she can function and have a full life,” Nissley said. For example, Glenn is trained to put his head in a lap or his head and front legs to calm a person down.
The training of a service dog is not cheap. It costs $25,000 to train one dog, Nissley said; the person the dog will serve must pay $5,000 for it.
“They may be on the list for a long time until they have the $5,000. None of that is covered by insurance,” Nissley said.
So why would Nissley put in so much time to help a stranger?
“God put it in my heart,” Nissley said. “God has given me a great heart and the next thing he wanted me to do is raise a service dog.”
Glenn accompanies Nissley to services at Glossbrenner United Methodist Church in Mount Joy, where he has become popular with the congregation.
“They hope his partner goes to church because of how much he loves to go to church,” Nissley said.
After Glenn goes to his partner, Nissley said she plans to raise another service dog.
“I plan on continuing with Susquehanna because it is such a worthwhile organization,” Nissley said.