Noga The Wonderdog: my anchor to reality

Noga the Wonder Dog

Meet Noga.  She’s my Psychiatric Service Dog.  What service does she provide for me?   She keeps me grounded in reality.

You see, many years ago I was raped.  Not once, but many times.  And that has provided me with a whopping case of PTSD:  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The way I coped with being a homeless street kid who got raped a lot was to dissociate.  To leave my body behind, while horrible things were being done to it, and go floating away to Somewhere Else.  It became a habit with my brain, to dissociate from anything threatening; and at last my brain started doing it all on its own, in response to triggers that I may not even be aware of.

And even now, forty years later, I often find that I have been “gone” for hours at a time.  I often have no idea what happened to trigger the episode.  But Noga can tell when I have dissociated, and she jumps up on my legs and “bops” me with her feet, and if necessary, pulls at my pants leg to bring me back to the here-and-now.

And then there are the nightmares.  In my last post I showed you a picture of all the pills I have to take in order to get through the night.  But even with all those drugs, some nights (like last night, for example) I will dream, or hallucinate, or both, that someone has climbed through the window and is standing over me.  B.N. (Before Noga), I could spend hours in a half-dream, half-waking state of paralysis, waiting for the intruder to make his move.  But Noga is a fierce 13 pound watch dog, and she bites!  Now if I have a nightmare I can reach over and if Noga is sleeping beside my left shoulder as she always does, I know there is nothing to fear and I can safely go back to sleep.  Here is Noga keeping the bed warm:

Noga refuses to get out of bed on a rainy morning!

Whose bed do you think this is, anyway?

There are other things she does for me, besides being my Service Dog.  She keeps my right elbow at the proper height for typing by curling up under it, for instance.  That plaid thing is my elbow.

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Plus, she’s just my cute little buddy.

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Noga hates getting her hair wet.

Photos courtesy of my Samsung Galaxy SIII phone.

 

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21 Comments

  1. I am so so glad you have Noga to ground you and support you.

    Reply
  2. ilenva

     /  March 20, 2013

    Noga sounds wonderful. It’s amazing how much a little furry friend can help. She’s adorable! 🙂

    Reply
  3. Gill

     /  March 20, 2013

    I was also raped multiple times and suffer from PTSD. I live on my own because my trust in humans is zero – but I have 3 wonderful dogs who are my constant companions and share my life with me.
    I understand how important Noga must be to you xx

    Reply
    • I’m so sorry that happened to you. I know what you mean–I live far away from human habitation, and have been officially declared a recluse by a federal judge LOL! That’s great that you have a trio of companions/protectors. They’re the best. Take good care!

      Reply
  4. I also have PTSD and am waiting for a service dog. She seems great and helps you out so much. I can relate to losing hours at a time and not knowing where the day went! Scary.

    Reply
    • I’m sorry you have to know what it is to have PTSD. Are you getting a dog from an agency? Do you know about the Golden Paws Yahoo group? It’s a wonderfully informative and supportive group of women (I think men are allowed to join but we don’t have any at the moment), both veteran and novice Service Dog partners, and some who like you are waiting. Diane, the owner of the group, has a wonderful archive of all kinds of useful information on everything from canine development to how to train specific behaviors.

      Reply
      • I am getting the dog from an agency about 2 hours from my home. I did not know about the group. Definitely something that I would be interested in!

        Reply
  5. You story is very insteresting. I am bi-polar also. And I also use the “disassociation” technique to battle bordem, depression, and reality (which is people are evil). Have you tried spirituality as a cooping tool. I’m not talking about bible study classes and church fundraisers. But don’t you odd how a woman like you can wake up every morning and be able to live your life despite what you went through 40 years ago and yet young women are blowing their brains out because their boyfriend them? Also the relationship you have with your dog is spiritual. From what you’ve written, I can tell that your dog honestly loves you. You have a relationship with an animal that you can’t have with most people. Against all odds you’ve made this far with just a couple of small “mental glitches”. In my religion to be able to wake up every morning knowing that you have to fight demons within yourself and others is called strength. God smiles on you every day you decided to live. You keep fighting regardless of the wounds you have received in life. Keep fighting warrior. My heart is with you.

    Reply
  6. Hey there, just left a comment on your 2am page. didn’t know at the time that Noga was a service dog. Luca, my shih tzu, who looks amazingly like your Noga is also a PTSD service dog. He also keeps me grounded from dissociating. he’s my life anchor too. Sounds like we are leading parallel lives. (even down to the look alike service dogs with similar names even!) Weird to just find you here telling my story. I was not a homeless teen but ditto on the CSA, adult stuff etc. Some say I am bipolar. I think just uni. lamictal helps tons tho. new subscriber here. be.

    Reply
    • Well how cool is that? I was just having an internal monologue about how amazing it is that the blogosphere provides us with an empty room that starts filling up with all these amazing people who share life stories and issues and strategies for dealing with them, and seem to be somehow drawn together out of how many freakin’ millions of bloggers out there???? Really glad to have you here. I was just over on your page looking for the “like” button on your 2 am story–very cool story–but didn’t find it. Do you have it turned on, or just don’t want one, or did I just not find it? I’ll follow you too. Take good care!

      Reply
  7. Noga is awesome! What a cute little helper you have there 🙂

    Reply
  8. Noga says “Woof,” which means “Thank you Mr. Sketch, if you were here I would lick the tip of your nose.”

    Reply
  9. I wish we had something like that where I live, I’d give anything to have a little companion like Noga – I’m not so good with people anymore. I’ve just found your blog so I wanted to say something and well, that’s what I was thinking as I read this post I guess! I hope you’re having an okay night, it’s nice to meet you..kind of.

    Reply
  10. I don’t know maybe you might be able to help me, but if I am having dreams, often nightmares of my mom visiting me or if I am some how in a sense the reason for her death, and I wasn’t, she passed away when I was 17 and I was her right hand person with being at her side right up until the day she passed away, could it be away of my mind trying to say its okay to grieve? I literally wake up in a cold sweat, the dreams/nightmares are so real! just a question…

    Reply
    • Wow, that sounds really scary. Could it be that, as you say, you have never had a chance to grieve her properly? Since you have asked my advice, I will tell you that the only thing to do right now is to find a therapist that specializes in grief work. A good place to start is a hospice. They often have a list of therapists that they can refer you to.

      Another thing you can do, at the same time even, is to do some work with a shaman who can speak to your mother’s spirit and find out whether she is in fact visiting you in your dreams, or whether it is purely on your side that this is happening. You also need to be doing your grief counseling, but a shaman or other well-trained person who works with the paranormal can help figure out if any of this is from your mother’s side, if she has unresolved issues, perhaps not even having to do with you. May I ask where you live?

      Reply
      • I live in Wisconsin. Thanks for your advice. I haven’t told but one other person of these dreams as I think most people would think i was crazy and not understand especially the horrible dreams.

        Reply
  11. Kelleylynn, if you want a referral to an excellent shaman I can provide you with that. Let me know.

    Reply

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