San Diego Union Tribune
August 12, 2018
Four years ago, Tipton said he wouldn’t have been able to strike up a conversation with strangers and even found himself incapable of cracking a smile. Tipton said having Daisy and the self-esteem of a holding a job “have made me human again.”
After struggling for years with post-traumatic stress disorder, 22-year Marine veteran John Tipton decided three years ago to get a trained service dog. The Vista man calls the day he took Daisy home in May 2015 both the best day and the worst day of his life.
John Tipton of Vista and his service dog Daisy do their rounds at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula. The 22-year Marine Corps veterans and his dog are the first of nine human-canine security teams Pechanga plans to hire. (Pechanga Resort and Casino)
Because although the 4-year-old black Lab/terrier mix helped heal the crippling anxiety that had turned Tipton into a housebound “grumpy grandpa,” he couldn’t find anyone willing to hire a man with a full-time service dog.
“It was a pretty rough couple of years,” said Tipton, 62. “I’d walk into job interviews and they’d take one look at me and then look at the dog … You could see it in their eyes and hear it in the tone of their voice. They wondered what was wrong with me.”
But those years of isolation ended in mid-June, when Tipton and Daisy became the first six-legged safety patrol team at Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula. Over the next year, Pechanga plans to hire a total of 10 veteran-service dog teams.
The idea was conceived by Robert Krauss, vice president of public safety at Pechanga. Before joining Pechanga’s security team 21 years ago, Krauss spent four years in the Marine Corps. He said military veterans make up a substantial portion of his department’s 300-strong staff because their leadership qualities make them great workers.
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