Mother's Labor Eased by Service Dog
On Friday, April 13th at 5:22 p.m. Laura Hulsing gave birth to Noah Fredrick Hulsing-Drymon who weighed 7 pounds, 13 ounces and was 18 inches long. This was no ordinary delivery. Not only did Laura have her family and physician, Heidi Arnold, MD with her as she welcomed Noah into this world: Autumn, her companion and service dog, also welcomed Noah.
Autumn has been servicing Laura for five years for post traumatic stress disorder. “When I was eighteen, I experienced a life changing event that resulted in post traumatic stress disorder,” explains Laura. “Because of the incident, I tried to constantly prove to myself that I was not afraid of people and situations so I would attend business and marketing networking sessions all the time. By 3 p.m. every afternoon, I was exhausted and would have to go to bed. Trying to constantly prove myself took its toll.”
At one these networking sessions, Laura met a women by the name of Pam Halley. After speaking with Laura, Pam invited Laura out to visit her organization, K9 for Veterans. K9 is a not-for-profit organization created by Pam and Mike Halley that provides disabled veterans and solders with service dogs for various disorders. The disorders can include balance issues, diabetes, seizures, traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder. Autumn has been Laura’s companion for five years.
Due to the post traumatic stress disorder, Laura suffers from severe anxiety. Autumn watches Laura very carefully in public situations and will move to her side and watch as people pass, providing comfort and security. “I was nervous about having Autumn in the hospital, especially the delivery room, because it was going to be a very stressful time for me and Autumn would see that,” expresses Laura. “I spoke with the nursing staff at the hospital and for a few months before delivery, we brought Autumn to the hospital to get her used to the environment. She met many people and we even had booties made so her nails would not make as much noise when she walked on the floor.”
For the last six months Autumn has been very protective of Laura, following her from the bed to the restroom and back in the middle of the night. Laura still wondered how she would be in the delivery room during labor. She worked very hard during labor to stay calm. The trainer, who was also in the room with Autumn, told Laura that Autumn was good and it was ok to express her feelings, so she listened and began to express her feelings. At this, Autumn walked over to her bedside and offered comfort and when Laura felt calm again, Autumn returned to the trainer. It was not until Noah began to appear that Autumn sat up and took notice of him.
Autumn stayed with Laura through her stay in The Baby Suites at Brandon Regional Hospital and would offer comfort when needed. She has allowed Laura to be a mom to baby Noah, but also gives Laura comfort. The dog was attentive as to who was coming in and out of the room and would often go to Laura’s bedside.
“I take no pills for anxiety. Autumn is trained to know me and my body. She not only watches me but she also anticipates when an anxiety attack may come and warns me. She becomes aware of the situations that may trigger it and because of her, I am independent.”