Brian and Natalie Vines: People Need to Be Educated About Service Dogs

Businesses, restaurants, and other establishments including, ironically, the VA, should become more educated about service dogs and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Retired veteran Natalie Vines, who has TBI and PTSD, has often been told she cannot bring her service dog, Bug, into a store or restaurant or even to a doctor appointment at the VA.

Shortly after Brian and Natalie Vines met in the military in 1998, their unit deployed to Kuwait. Fueled by assignments on nearby bases, common interests, and shared military experiences, their friendship grew into a romantic relationship that eventually led them to the alter. Brian and Natalie loved their careers in the U.S. Army — Brian served for 28 years and Natalie for 21.

After several sustaining several TBIs and living with PTSD, Natalie retired from the Army. And in 2012, Brian, who lives with PTSD as well, decided to retire to take care of his wife. Since then, both Brian and Natalie also found significant growth and healing through their participation in the WWP Independence Program. Brian volunteers as a peer mentor helping his fellow veterans on WWP Project Odyssey® events.

For information about treatments for TBI and PTSD, please visit The Treatment Hub.

One of the things that would be helpful to veterans like Natalie that have service dogs is if business owners and law enforcement read the Americans With Disabilities Act as it regards to service dogs. We have had some issues with her service dog, Bug, that they don't know those regulations and they don't allow Bug to go into a dining area or we’ve got to show proof that he’s the service dog. And all of those things are against the ADA. Or even doctors at the VA, I can’t be seen at the VA, because that doctor hates service dogs. So then I go back up, and then the other doctor is the same way. So, then I have to ask to be seen outside the VA, so things like that.

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Posted on BrainLine November 10, 2021. Reviewed November 10, 2021.

About the author: Brian and Natalie Vines

Shortly after Brian and Natalie Vines met in the military in 1998, their unit deployed to Kuwait. Fueled by assignments on nearby bases, common interests, and shared military experiences, their friendship grew into a romantic relationship that eventually led them to the alter. Brian and Natalie loved their careers in the U.S. Army — Brian served for 28 years and Natalie for 21. After several sustaining several TBIs and living with PTSD, Natalie retired from the Army. And in 2012, Brian, who lives with PTSD as well, decided to retire to take care of his wife. Since then, both Brian and Natalie also found significant growth and healing through their participation in the Wounded Warrior Project® Independence Program. Brian volunteers as a peer mentor helping his fellow veterans on WWP Project Odyssey® events.

A photo from left to right of Natalie Vines, her German Shepherd service dog, and Brian Vines, all smiling facing the camera