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Battle Buds: Shannon and Soldier working together to help people with post traumatic stress

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Inspiring Shannon & Soldier

ROCKFORD (WREX) — Animals, particularly the ones we adopt as pets, hold a lot of power.

They're our friends and loyal companions.

Two titles Soldier fills perfectly.

This pup was connected with Shannon Becker five and a half years ago.

As the two do the rounds at Rockford's Amazon facility, they are more than just pet and owner.

They're what Becker calls "battle buds."

The war motifs harken back to Becker's time in the miliatry.

It was a part of her life that was far from easy.

"I was a radioman in the Navy from 1995-1999," Becker said.

"There were a lot of tears involved. There were a lot of nights where I counted down the days until I was done."

Becker originally decided to enlist to keep her parents from having to pay for her schooling.

Once she returned to civilian life, she began to feel different.

It wasn't until years later a doctor told her she was suffering from post traumatic stress.

PTSD is something most people have heard of before but, according to Becker, it comes with many misconceptions.

"Depending on who you talk to, sometimes they drop the D off of it because there's some advocates that say it's not a disorder. There's nothing wrong with the person who has it. It's dealing with the post traumatic stress they've been through," Becker said.

Learning to dealt with PTS(D) is what brought Shannon and Soldier together.

Soldier is special trained to read how his owner's cues and triggers and react accordingly.

When he anchors against my leg, he's making a point in contact with me at all times to know if my blood pressue is going up or if I'm becoming agitated," Becker said.

The 'battle buds' are doing more than help each other, they're trying to help others.

Becker works with Custom Canines, an organization dedicated to raising and training service animals for people with disabilities.

Though post traumatic stress is an 'invisible' disability, Becker knows first hand how crippling it is.

She wants to help others regain power they fell they've lost due to PTS(D).

"To have some sort of control given back to you is such a gift," Becker said.

"My hope is that people who are struggling see that somebody cares and get them the help that they need."

If you'd like to learn more about Custom Canines, you can click here.

If you know of anyone trying to make a positive impact in our community, you can fill out a nomination form here or you can email

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Evan Leake

Evan Leake anchors for 13 News Today and 13 News at Noon. Evan grew up in Darien, Illinois, a south-west suburb of Chicago. He came to WREX in 2017 and worked his way to the anchor desk in May of 2019. He coordinates both the Teacher of the Week and Inspiring 815 series for 13 News. You can connect with Evan at or Evan Leake on Facebook.

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