Shortly after graduation, she enlisted in the Navy to become a Logistics Specialist. In a nutshell, Thalia started out helping with supplies needed for ship maintenance, later moving to the air supply side of the house. Need new boots or a new rotor blade for the helicopter? Thalia was your person.
“I learned a trade that made me think outside the box in regard to the jobs I perform,” said Thalia. “It gave me an experience where sometimes I am the most knowledgeable person in the room.”
There were three deployments to the Middle East and lots of travel, including to Dubai, Djibouti as well as England, Hawaii and Australia.
Thalia remained on active duty until 2011, at which time she entered the Reserves until she separated in 2014. She openly shares that she battles daily with post-traumatic stress due to related events and Fibromyalgia. Separated from the service, again, Thalia found herself needing a new plan. She reached out to the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) and got involved.
“I mainly attended some of their physical and mental wellness events, sports camps, job trainings, resume-building trainings, and other fun events both in-person and virtual,” said Thalia. “I mean, I hike now, and I enjoy it, which is something I definitely didn’t do before.”
But it was the service dog training program that WWP offered in partnership with Warrior Canine Connection (WCC) that really caught her attention.
“I am an absolute dog lover, and I have Leyti, a 9-year-old service dog of my own (she received Leyti from a different organization, not WCC),” said Thalia. “Going through Warrior Canine Connection’s program helped me become a better owner for my pretty but spoiled princess. It didn’t just make me think about how I continually work with and care for her, it also made me realize a lot about myself and how I approach things.”
Thalia says some days are worse than others but knowing she has the support of WWP, as well as Leyti, helps get her through. Despite her ongoing battle, Thalia says she has a lot to be thankful for. Case in point—a new job; she recently started a new position that she’s extremely excited about.
Her advice to other Veterans fighting their own personal battles?
“I would tell them to sit in a room full of puppies [laughs],” said Thalia. “I think that experience would give them so much perspective. Working with these dogs and allowing yourself to focus on them and their needs versus everything else you have going on really helps.”