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Happy Tail: Martha chases away dark thoughts


Martha was abandoned, and no one stepped forward to adopt the four-year-old dog for some time. Life wasn’t too grim, however, because she was at a no-kill shelter, the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge. She was a people dog and didn’t get along with others of her own species so was allowed to roam about at the facility.

Then her lucky day arrived: she was adopted. Originally she was a Father’s Day gift for a Fair Lawn, NJ, man from his daughter Lori, but soon it became clear that the pooch was just as much her dog as his.

Martha has an uncanny ability to know when Lori needs comforting.

Martha has an uncanny ability to know when Lori needs comforting.

Lori had been a victim of rape and sexual assault and was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Martha, being a people dog, was the perfect companion because of her intuitive nature, which Lori calls “awesome and spot on accurate.”

Sometimes when Lori would wake up in the middle of the night with dark thoughts about the traumas she had experienced, she would reach for the phone to call a crisis line. “Before I even woke up, Martha was there by my side, guarding me” Lori says. Martha is now her registered service dog and can accompany her everywhere.

Martha, though ever vigilant, has a playful side, too. “She loves playing with her rubber ball. We like playing soccer with each other in the living room.” Tearing up the couch is also a playful, if destructive, pastime that started when she was first adopted. “She eats the stuffing and all. We are throwing the entire couch out,” Lori says.

But, then, how important is a couch when a dog has been, and continues to be, such a lifeline?

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