“Yes, something happened to you. But, you don’t have to

continue having a negative association with it,” said Morgan. “See it for what it is. Having a service dog next to you, staring into your eyes can be the differentiating factor to helping you control your emotions.” Foley’s presence, among the many things he’s been trained

to do, helps Morgan reach distance between his emotions. “You become very connected with the dog who is 100 per-

cent focused on you. This is what these service dogs are trained to do,” said Morgan. “They don’t make PTSD go away. They help you reset your focus into the now so that you are more mindful of what you’re experiencing.” Having moved forward with their lives as a family, it’s

difficult to recall what life was like before Foley. “I feel that people with PTSD deal with it one of two

ways,” said Amber. “Some people lash out. Others internalize. Morgan is one who internalizes it. Foley has helped mitigate a lot of the emotional ups and downs. He has brought more of a constant to Morgan’s life. And, that has given me more peace of mind.” Now, when Amber is at work and the kids are at school,

knowing that Morgan is not alone is a relief for everyone. The family is grateful that Foley, who is also trained to retrieve medication and alert to medical issues, is with Morgan 24/7. “The more Foley does for Morgan, the more it does for

us,” said Amber. “And, the more it does for the community. It’s truly a ripple effect.” Foley has also become the family barometer. “He helps us

know what to expect from each other; what kind of day it’s going to be and how much space to give each other,” said Amber. Jaime added, “It just feels normal having Foley around,

even when we go someplace with him.” ROOM FOR ONE MORE. There is one more important

family member in the Watt family that we haven’t mentioned, yet. Blu is a Golden Doodle who has become best friends with Foley. He is actually Amber’s dog, following her around the house when she’s home; waiting patiently for her return when


About the Behind the Screens photo shoot concept by Foto Bohemia. The pandemic drastically changed all of our lives. Businesses closed. Projects and events were cancelled. The downtime and subsequent loss of business for many artists has been unnerving, unpredictable and frightening. Photographers Pavel and Jessie Stehlik were inspired to stay connected to their community and to find beauty through computer screens during COVID19. That is how the concept, Behind the Screens, was born. It is the technique used for photos of the Watt family in our story. "What makes a beautiful photograph? Is it clarity and the quality

of the resolution? Or can you still accomplish a powerful image with a low-tech video chat screenshot by using only the most integral elements of photography: good lighting, beautiful posing, and well-thought out composition? It's our hypothesis that you can." –Pavel and Jessie Stehlik, Foto Bohemia and their dog Koko To see more of their project, and read each subject's powerful quarantine story, visit THE NEW BARKER 47

she’s not. While Morgan and Foley are early risers, up before everyone else, Blu is upside down, sound asleep on Amber’s side of the bed. “He does not get up with me,” laughed Morgan. “Even

though he knows I’m feeding Foley and taking him outside. Blu just won’t get out of bed until Amber does.” Foley has an an/off switch and can go from working dog to

a playful pet on command. “We have two incredible dogs that are very laid back. Neither one of them gets fired up about anything,” said Morgan. “It’s a blessing that they get along really well together.” Both dogs have brought a lot of laughter back to the

family. “That’s the one big thing I can say that’s happened to our family dynamics,” said Amber. “They have brought more levity into our home and to our family.” Foley is tuned into Morgan’s emotions and physical and

mental wellbeing. He’s been trained to be very clued into that. But, he does take care of his pack, the family all agreed. “He’s happiest when we’re all together,” said Amber. It wasn’t until after Foley arrived that Morgan was able to

turn a corner and find a fresh start. “Foley brought back a part of Morgan that I thought was

gone,” said Amber. “He has been a wonderful addition to our family, and I will forever be grateful to Southeastern Guide Dogs for their generosity.”


Be A Hero For A Hero Because of the pandemic, the 2020 Southeastern Guide Dogs Walkathon was cancelled. This year's event, sched- uled to take place in Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Orlando, Fort Myers and Tampa, was also to have launched a matching challenge for the veterans’ programs. Southeastern Guide Dogs still needs donations to meet the full matching challenge. Any donation made is matched, dollar for dollar, up to $350,000. More informa- tion may be found at

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