Service/Guide dog serves US Army Veteran in Williamsburg

Army Vet in Williamsburg befriends intelligent service dog who helps him get through daily life

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky (WTVQ) – Thomas Eidschun’s served 28 years in the army.  At age 27, he started in the artillery.  In 2017, he retired with the rank of Sergeant Major.  During his career, he earned numerous medals and traveled the world, but it also left him with some visible wounds, including a broke neck. Some others less visible, included a brain injury.

“Its secondary to TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and what its done is pretty much compromise my autonomic system,” explains Eidschun.

Thomas says it started out with headaches. Then came problems talking and his memory faded. Even walking became a problem .

“So that’s why I have problems with stairs. I have problems with escalators and elevators with the change of pressure around me and I get extremely dizzy,” said Eidschun.

According to his daughter, Althea Parrish, he sometimes becomes almost comatose.

“I was about 14. I started to say something to him and i noticed that he went unresponsive. So I start clapping in his face I start yelling his name and its just a complete blank stare and you could see the emotions in his eyes but he couldn’t move,” explains Parrish.

Thomas can’t be left alone and his family determined that he needed a special companion.  Which is where Allen, a service and guide animal came into the picture.  Allen was bred for Thomas in New York by America’s Vetdogs.  As a puppy, he received both service dog and guide dog training.  He was brought to Kentucky and both he and Eidschun went through a 10 day training so the two could work together to keep Eidschun physically stable.

“If I come up to a curb he’s stop..And look up at me and I’ll say ok, I know by his reaction there’s a change in elevation,” says Eidschun.

Allen, often walks his owner to keep him out of harms way.  When there is danger, the black lab races to a special button in the garage, alerting the family.  Sometimes, when Thomas doesn’t even need to tell him too, Allen is so smart and so well trained that he just knows.

“One time he went over and pushed the buzzer because I couldn’t get out of my chair..I didn’t even have to go say go get help..He went over and pushed the buzzer and told on me,” laughs Eidschun.

The family says this protective pet not only gives Thomas but also his loved ones piece of mind.  Thomas and his wife Michelle are also the founders of ‘Resilient Knights.’ Resilient Knights is a non-profit group that works to provide a place for active service members and veterans to find a new purpose as they transition back to civilian life.  For more information click the link here.

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