Pets Saving People: Ed and Polly Save Each Other's Lives

PetSmart Charities pets saving people dog adoption story PollyEd Zyer and his dog Polly saved each other’s lives.


The 62-year-old Vietnam veteran struggled to combat post-traumatic stress disorder, and medicine just wasn’t cutting it.


Across the border in Illinois, the pit bull-pointer mix would be euthanized in 10 days if she didn’t find a home. People passed her by thinking she wouldn’t be a good choice. They were wrong.


But when a doctor recognized Zyer suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and recommended he try working with a service dog, along came Polly. 


“If I didn’t see it with my own eyes I wouldn’t have believed it,” said Zyer’s girlfriend Carol Presnak, 62. Zyer and Presnak had attended a PetSmart adoption event in April 2015. “Polly wandered over to every single other dog like she was saying goodbye to them, then came over and sat right next to Ed.”



PetSmart Charities pets saving people dog adoption story Polly 2Zyer decided to adopt her immediately and enrolled her in training; they both passed with flying colors. Polly is now a certified service dog.


“The main thing is that she calms me down,” Zyer said. “If I’m upset she’ll come over, put her head on me and make me feel better. When she knows I’m mad or upset, that’s when she does her job.”


Zyer said he often suffers from road rage.


“In my Jeep, when I start screaming and yelling, she’ll stick her head on my shoulder and lick my ear and it stops me right there,” Zyer said. “PTSD is a pretty rough disease. You have a lot of time on your hands, and there’s no one around, and with the help of a dog, it distracts me.”


Zyer said he couldn’t believe Polly hadn’t been adopted yet because she is such a special dog.


“For some strange reason, thanks to the big guy upstairs, they gave me a dog that knew all about me,” Zyer said. “From a person who’s been suffering from PTSD for more than 40 years, for her to come into my life, it’s a total 180-degree turn.”


PetSmart Charities pets saving people dog adoption story Polly 3He said veterans suffering from PTSD should talk to their psychiatrist to find out if a service dog would be a good option for them.


Zyer found Polly at a PetSmart adoption event, showcasing dogs from the South Suburban Humane Society. Polly was sponsored from the Bryan & Amanda Bickell Foundation, an organization working to create awareness about pit bulls.


“I would advise any veteran to look into adoption and see the great dogs available – they are amazing companions,” Zyer said.


Read More Pets Saving People Stories:


Glen and Blake


Bruce and Chica


Dottie and Pete


Adam and Zephyr


Mis Kyrene and Tobi


Daisy – PetSmart Charities 7 millionth adoption


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