Some of you know that Scott has been raising and training a service dog to treat his PTSD. We had discussions with each other, his doctors and our family and friends before embarking on this journey. We’ve received amazing support from The Foundation for Service Dog Support that supports first responders. From the moment Scott began to take his dog Bigby to work with him our lives have changed. Scott was able to break his cycle of isolation and enjoy being out in the world. He truly enjoys working as a Missing Persons detective. I was able to transition from being a caregiver back to being a partner for the first time since he was shot.
Unfortunately, the city of Phoenix does not want Bigby to come to work with Scott, and their reasons are unfounded, being based on both erroneous facts and ignorant assumptions as indicated by their language in our recent correspondence. Bigby is a psychiatric service dog and is clearly covered as reasonable accommodation under the law. He is not a therapy dog, emotional support dog or just a fun pet. The HR representative that called Scott would not use the word PTSD and instead referred to it as “mood issues” and repeatedly called Bigby an emotional support dog despite Scott’s repeated attempts to correct and explain. Scott had a medical doctor and two psychologists, one of which specializes in treating PTSD, diagnose PTSD and recommend that he get a psychiatric service dog.
For someone with PTSD this was enough to trigger an episode. Thankfully, Scott had the wherewithal to call me and got out enough words so that I understood what was going on and could rush home. Scott once told me that when he was shot he never believed he was actually going to die and he thought that had helped him live through it. Now, I was watching Scott lose his will to live on my living room floor and the only thing keeping him here was Bigby.
An emergency page to his psychologist’s office, a visit from a good friend and constant care from Bigby helped Scott come back. I spent the night speaking with a variety of different people and demanding that this issue be resolved. Unfortunately, this has been a big step back in Scott’s recovery. I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of him than when he got up, got dressed and went to work the next morning (with his service dog of course). The instinct for someone with PTSD is to isolate and avoid; I can’t even imagine how difficult that was for him to do. Particularly, because there was a chance that he would be walked out the door for bringing his service dog despite the legal protections.
Scott has taken steps to treat his PTSD from the beginning. It has been a struggle but he is a fighter and he’s been fighting hard for a long time and was turning some major corners. He is the love of my life and my best friend. I will never stop fighting for what is best for Scott.
The thing is, I can’t do this by myself. Scott needs your help too. He needs his brothers and sisters in blue, his fellow veterans, his family and his friends.
Ways you can help:
Send Scott words of encouragement on Facebook.
Send Scott words of encouragement on Twitter (@QkslvrSailor)
Share his story.
Contact the Phoenix City Manager:
Ed Zuercher, Phoenix City Hall
200 W Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003
Phone (602) 262-6941
If you live in the city of Phoenix, you can also contact your Phoenix city councilperson.
Thank you for the continued support,