GRANGER – For years Iowa veteran Heather Miller stayed quiet about what happened to her while serving in the Army. But now with the help and courage of her new furry friend, she is sharing her story.
After 11 years serving in the Army, Miller was medically discharged last month. And shortly after, Heather got her service dog Sassy through K-9’s for Warriors to help her cope.
“I have PTSD, but it’s not because I deployed since I didn’t go over sees, but I was sexually assaulted during a drill weekend and it just kind of took away all of my ability to serve to my full capabilities, or at least what I wanted to be able to contribute,” said Miller.
Miler says the assault happened years ago, and it’s been a long road to recovery. But says Sassy has been the missing puzzle piece for her well-being.
“She is able to sense when I am getting anxious or feeling afraid and she stops me. She literally licks my face until I can’t think of that anymore and it’s a blessing. I did not know until I got home how much set me on edge.”
After struggling with debilitating PTSD everyday, Miller is now feeling more and more like herself.
“On a typical day I would never want to go to a park or even grocery shopping and I want to be able to show my daughter this is fun stuff, this is normal stuff to do.”
Miller’s husband, and their 2-year-old daughter Valerie, have played a major role in her healing. But the most recent addition to the family has already proved to be life changing.
“It’s a wonderful feeling for someone who feels kind of alone because of what they’ve been through.”
Interestingly enough Sassy is actually a rescued shelter dog. From there, a high school in Florida sponsored Sassy to get through training, which is very expensive. The school that did this, Fletcher High School has the motto service above self, also known as SAS. So they had that in mind when they named her Sassy.