“She wasn’t her normal soothing self… she kept booping her nose on my stomach.”
Penny has always been a laid-back and agreeable dog. The placid nature of the 2-year-old golden retriever makes her the ideal PTSD service animal for her mother, Olivia Lachenauer.
“She’s really gentle and nice,” Lachenauer said. “She’s always paid close attention to me.”
“She’s that soothing force, and she’s taught to intervene at all hours of the day and night,” Lachenauer added. “She frequently notices my triggers before I do, and it has significantly improved my quality of life.”
Penny keeps a careful check on her mother at all times, and when Lachenauer became pregnant, Penny became even more vigilant. Penny’s conduct abruptly altered one day last month.
The typically placid dog was distressed, as if she was attempting to communicate with her mother. Penny, Lachenauer imagined, was reacting to the stress of having to take a test that day.
“I assumed her weird conduct was due to the fact that I was commencing exams,” Lachenauer explained. “I’m a nursing student, and I had a major final that day.” She wasn’t her normal relaxing self, but she had an uneasy energy about her. Instead of being at my side, she kept putting her nose on my stomach.”
Sure enough, she went into labor during Lachenauer’s final exam.
“I started experiencing the worst contractions ever on question 63,” Lachenauer explained. “I finished my final, my parents came over, and my lovely baby son was delivered that night!” Penny sensed something was wrong before I did.”
Penny was relieved that her mother was safe and well, and she returned to her usual calm demeanor.
Penny now has a particular bond with not just her mother, but also with her new baby brother.
“Once I was seated, she transformed herself into a super-nanny dog!” Lachenauer described it as “adorable.” “She’s wonderful with all of my kids, but she really enjoys keeping an eye on the newborn and will lay by his swing, beneath his cot, and supervise tummy time from a safe distance.”
Lachenauer is looking forward to seeing Penny and her baby grow up together. She is confident that her son will always have someone looking out for him.
“[Penny] is attentive, charming, and just all around fantastic with the infant,” Lachenauer added. “I believe her bond with this baby is so deep because she has been there for him since day one.”