Former NFL defensive lineman Brian Schaefering ended his football career in 2012, and since then, he has struggled. Like many former football players, Schaefering suffers from brain damage, PTSD and a laundry list of physical ailments. Schaefering has bulging discs in his neck and back, as well as torn ligaments in his right shoulder. His left shoulder needs to be replaced, and he experiences numbness and pain in his arms and legs. He has had a bone removed from his foot and is suffering from a torn labrum in his hip.
As Schaefering describes it, he is in pain all the time. In addition, he suffers from depression and has had thoughts of suicide. In addition to his feelings of suicide, Schaefering has had a hard time going out in public. Crowds make him feel anxious, angry and aggressive. These physical and mental impairments have left Schaefering struggling cope with life after retirement.
How Service Dogs Can Help
Fortunately for Schaefering, his luck has recently changed. Schaefering is one of the few retired NFL players to seek a service dog for help with his conditions. After a long and difficult search, Schaefering has acquired Niklaus, a “goofy,” and brilliant service dog, to serve as a guide and companion.
Service dogs are much more than just well-trained pets. Service dogs are taught a variety of commands to help their masters manage a range of disabilities, including physical and mental disabilities. Service dogs are taught skills like “block,” a command that puts the dog in front of his master to keep crowds from getting too close, and “middle,” a pose that puts the dog between his master’s legs to serve as defense.
Perhaps one of the most counterintuitive skill taught to service dogs like Niklaus is the “misbehave” tactic. A service dog who “misbehaves” does so to distract the master from anxiety or anger.
Service dogs also help their masters by providing physical stability.
Schaefering reports that Niklaus is able to provide comfort and assistance to his master in a variety of ways. Since Niklaus came to live with Schaefering, Schaefering reports that his life is improved. In fact, despite all of his medical treatments and visits to doctors, Schaefering reports that it is Niklaus who has helped him regain some semblance of his old self. Because of Niklaus, Schaefering is able to find humor in life and enjoy spending time with his children again.
Contact the National Animal Supplement Council
The National Animal Supplement Council is pleased and proud to support wellness and good health for animals through natural supplements. We want animals like Niklaus to stay healthy for years to come. To support our mission and join our organization, contact us today.