Meet Jerry & Empress

Recently matched PTSD Team - Appreciating Life Again!

PADS Empress walks through life at Jerry’s side, ensuring that she is always there when he needs her.

Matched in May of 2022, Jerry shares: “Empress has impacted my life in a tremendously positive manner. Being with me 24/7, she ensures that any onset triggers are identified and dealt with before escalation. Empress has forced me to deal with isolation, has increased my social activity and has increased my ability to experience and appreciate all of life exponentially.”

For the 2022 Graduation ceremony, Jerry composed the poem below how PADS Empress has changed his life.


By Jerry V.

For years I have basked
In a gloomy shadow of this concealing mask.
Alienated and isolated from the normal life around me
Yet acting as though nothing was wrong for all to see.

Ashamed, afraid and always hiding
From this devil within me, my life dividing.
Fearing reality and dastardly perception
This empty corpse relied on deception.

Falsely emitting a glowing shine
And lying to everyone, telling them, I’m fine.
But that’s not the case anymore
I’ve got a best friend who has my life restored.

For she is with me, faithful and true
And she can sense when I’m down and blue.
She has brought new breath to my life
And with her I am able to cope with my strife.

This new friend of mine has everyone impressed,
and she’s got a great name, she’s my Service Dog, Empress.
She is with me and I am with her
Together we gleam and make a great team.

She is the source of all of the chatter,
and I’m often asked what is the matter?
And other times that I’d rather not speak
The words that I say are no longer weak.

I can talk to strangers about her and me
And I’ve come to the realization that I am coping and living with PTSD.
And with my new friend was a lot to give
She has made it possible for me, my life to live.

Team Jerry and PADS Empress July 2022

Team Jerry and PADS Empress June 2023

Veterans matched with a service dog showed a statistically significant decrease in PTSD and depression symptoms. In addition, for most participants, these decreases were both clinically significant and reliable. Further, participants reported significant reductions in anger and improvement in perceived social support and quality of life.” – Megan Kloep, PhD.