Kenneth E. Bass, deployed in Iraq with the United States Marine Corps, was out on patrol when a roadside bomb detonated right beside him resulting in a traumatic brain injury that would forever alter his life. When Kenneth returned home, even normal occurrences like the sprinklers coming on could cause him to awake in a panic and have him reaching for his pistol in fear. Kenneth’s Post-Traumatic Stress materialized with hypervigilance and anxiety.
Kenneth was virtually lost, locked in his own personal prison. He spent all his free time depressed, hiding out in his garage. Even a decade later, his treatment consisted of more than eight different prescriptions totaling more than 33 pills a day. His life felt sad, hazy and hopeless……until he found Atlas the Wonder Dog.
Atlas is not only a service dog, but a lifesaver. Atlas is a grounding and solid presence when Kenneth experiences flashbacks, stress in crowded public places and even panic attacks. Atlas is trained to sense the changes in Kenneth’s body language when the lingering effects of war begin to creep up his spine. Atlas is then able to redirect Kenneth’s attention and focus during these overwhelming instances, whether it is to nudge his hand if he is getting anxious, wake him up in the throes of a nightmare or just stand behind him for support.
Atlas is a calming and loving presence, who not only changed Kenneth’s life, but also the lives of everyone who knows Kenneth. Kenneth is now able to take an active, positive role with his children. His confidence has grown tremendously with Atlas by his side, and he looks forward to the future with excitement.
Atlas is the inspiration behind The Battle Buddy Foundation, an organization that helps service-disabled combat veterans re-integrate themselves back into society. He is a true hero and wonder dog, and a beacon of hope for so many veterans struggling to cope – a regal reminder that there is hope and that there is a way to find yourself again after combat and trauma.
Atlas was honored as the 2017 Service Hero Dog. The search is underway for this year’s winners! Be sure to vote at www.herodogawards.org.