S10 | 04 – Hope and Healing with Service Dogs with Sam Hjalmarson

Lindsay Recknell Hope, Podcast Leave a Comment

What do you know about service dogs? Do you own one, or are you interested and think a service dog may be able to assist you?

In today’s episode, I’m joined by Sam Hjalmarson, the founder of Alberta Service Dog Community. Sam is here to share her service dog journey, and the positive transformation that service dogs can provide for those living with disabilities. For Sam and countless others, service dogs are a way to live free and fulfilling lives after losing hope.

During our conversation, we’ll touch on things like public accessibility, finding additional support if you already have a service dog, and where you can get started if you think a service dog might help you. 

Whether you need a service dog or not, I hope you’ll tune in and learn a bit more about the hope they provide for people with disabilities, and the amazing challenges people have been able to overcome because of their service dogs.

Because…well…dogs. 🤩🐶

About Sam Hjalmarson:

Sam Hjalmarson is a mental health and service dog advocate who lives with disabling PTSD/ADHD. She is the founder of Alberta Service Dog Community, which provides education, peer support, and advocacy for service dog users.

To learn more, you can find her on Twitter.

Mentioned In This Episode:

Transcription:

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

dog, people, service, alberta, hope, disability, lance, breed, lives, trainers, human rights act, trained, sam, burnout, training, program, temperament, qualify, barriers, hear

SPEAKERS

Sam Hjalmarson, Lindsay Recknell

Lindsay Recknell  00:03

Hello and Welcome to Season 10 of the hope motivates action podcast. I’m your host, Lindsay Recknell, and workplace mental health professional speaker podcaster and an expert in hope. Bringing you these episodes with these incredible guests is my absolute favorite. I am so grateful for the privilege to share stories of transformation, and to help you move through your own transformation with our one on one work together. And with the help of the professionals who come on the show. The signs of hope and positive psychology has had such a huge impact on me and my work. So I love that I also get to share knowledge, research and stories from the evidence based science as well. It is my sincere wish that you hear something that resonates with you in these episodes, that you feel that contagious power of hope and you are motivated to take action over what you can control all towards creating a future better than today. I have such a passion for this work and I love connecting with my clients with you my listeners and with the guests on the show to help create transformation. Sam Hjalmarson is a mental health and service dog advocate who lives with disabling PTSD and ADHD. Sam has lived experience with mental health treatment and support started after she spent five days in the short stay psychiatric ward back in 2010. Suffering from untreatable PTSD, undiagnosed ADHD and her relationship was in trouble. Two years later, she had tried every treatment option she could find yet nothing seemed to be working. That’s when she turned to psychiatric service dogs and the hope heals service dogs organization responded to her call starting Sam and her service dog lands on their journey of hope. Sam is the founder of Alberta service dog community, which provides education, peer support and advocacy for service dog users. She then became the Director of Client Services for Hope heals, which is now merged with the Vancouver Island compassion dogs. She was also a voting member of the Canadian General Standards Board attempt to develop a national standard for service dogs. Sam has watched service dogs change people’s lives for nearly a decade, watching people who have lost all hope move on to live fulfilling and happy lives. She’s here to share her story with us. So let’s get to it. Hello, Sam, welcome to the show.

Sam Hjalmarson  02:07

Hi, I’m glad to be here.

Lindsay Recknell  02:09

I am super glad that you are here. Also, I’m very excited about this. Because I love dogs. And also I think the work that you’re doing and have done is so so is very, very helpful. And I know that you have a really cool story to share. So maybe we’ll just jump right into it. Could you share with us your story of how you use hope to motivate action in your life?

Sam Hjalmarson  02:29

Absolutely. So around 2010 my life came to a pretty sudden rock bottom in a lot of ways I had PTSD. I had undiagnosed ADHD. I been out of work for quite a while I couldn’t bring myself to work. And I had wound up in a short stay unit of the psychiatric ward in LA County Hospital in Calgary. And I wound up losing my my relationship through all of that. And so I was pretty much starting from scratch again. And I tried every medication, every treatment out there. I’ve been in therapy for years, I tried every medication, I could think of even some off label uses for medications and nothing was really working. But I knew that something had to at some point there was got to be something that that could work for me. And I remember at some point, something clicked in my head that I had heard about psychiatric service dogs somewhere at some point. And so I decided that I was going to look into that. And I applied to a couple of different programs and one of the programs in the Edmonton area. And at the time I was in Calgary, one of the programs in the Edmonton area got back to me and said that they would be happy to accept me as a client. And originally, they were going to have me stay in Calgary and they were going to they had a satellite out there. But I was planning on moving back to Edmonton anyway, because I had a bunch of friends and my family was closer to there. So I moved back to Edmonton in January of about 2012. And I started with the program and that’s where I met Lance.

Lindsay Recknell  04:17

Which for all of you folks who can only see the or hear the audio, I get to see a picture of land there on the couch. Amazing.

Sam Hjalmarson  04:25

Lance is my service dog and he has been since about that time. Now the program was a little bit of a different one than a lot of programs out there. They didn’t give me a fully trained service dog. So I had to help train him, which was really great for the psychiatric side of things because it meant that a lot of the skills that I was learning to train Lance are actually really helpful in my own mental health journey as well. A lot of the things that we do with with training dogs work really Well to train our own brains, especially positive reinforcement, it’s a really, a lot of people think that rewarding yourself, or bribing yourself to do things is, you know, we shouldn’t be doing that. But as positive reinforcement, if you want to repeat a behavior, give yourself a reason to want to do that. And like, people don’t like to go to work without getting paid, why would you want to do anything else that’s like work without some way of getting paid, right. And just learning compassion for myself, and, you know, self regulation, and a lot of different things to that. So it was really great. Unfortunately, the program didn’t have enough volunteer support when the executive director had to step down and it closed. So I was had to finish training lands on my own. And through that, I came to understand how much support I had gotten from the program. And even from the friends I made from the program that I still had, that a lot of people who were trying to train their own service dogs, because they’re expensive, you either can get a an organization that can donate you one, but it’s pretty, they can only do so many, and they only trained dogs for very specific disabilities, and civilians with psychiatric needs just aren’t on that list, because funding is hard to get for it. And the other option, you know, buying a service dog, they’re 25 to $30,000. And that’s on average, like it didn’t go a lot higher than that. So a lot of people try and train their own, but they’re not dog trainers, and they don’t know how they don’t know, the specifics of what kind of things service dogs themselves need, which is a different kind of training.  And not having that pure support, I just, I had suddenly understood what it meant what it felt like, and there’s not a lot of information online at the time. And so I decided to start a peer support advocacy and education group called Alberta service dog community. Because I wanted to be able to give people that same support that the organization had given me. And so that, you know, took off started going slowly. But, you know, about a year later, by the time I had joined a committee for the Canadian General Standards Board committee to develop a national service stock standard in Canada, which didn’t finish, but it was a two year process that we went through, there was about three to 500 members on the group, which you can find on Facebook. And because of that, I wound up being a voting member on the committee, representing owner trainers, because the only other voting members on there they represented, you know, regulators like Transport Canada or schools and there was nobody on the voting list who could represent owner trainers. So I got to want to do that. And well, I couldn’t go to every meeting in person because of cost. Lance and I wound up flying out to Ottawa four times, I think and for you know, the two day meet today meetings and got involved with working with a lot of the other industry professionals and such and about the same time that that started the executive director who was also on the committee of the old hope eels and Lance’s puppy raiser, and I started working on bringing hope yields back. And I became the client services director of the program and we redevelop the entire entire program, which was amazing working with them because the executive, the executive director is actually a psychiatrist. So our psychologists are working with that was her with a it was a lot of fun. And she was also Lantis breeder. And so we started that program back up and running and focused on veterans and first responders with PTSD. And, and yeah, so we had that going. And that only recently ended because a much larger service dog organization actually asked us if we wanted to merge with them. So I hope he’ll service dogs is now Vancouver Island compassion dogs, which is a division of BC and Alberta guide dogs.

Lindsay Recknell  09:07

Oh, my heavens. Incredible story.

Sam Hjalmarson  09:12

But unfortunately, a few years back, I had a bad reaction to some medication. And it put me in a pretty severe depression for three years, and I’m still trying to work my way out of it even, you know, five years down the road, it was 2017 that it started. I think you’re on October. So I’m still struggling with that. And I haven’t really been able to do much with that. And through a lot of that, too, I wound up. I wonder I’m actually losing a lot of the hope that I’ve had through a lot of the stuff that have been going on in the world. So I don’t know if I can technically say that I have hope right now, but I am acting as if I did. I’m pretending that I do and I’m doing all the same things I would if I still had hope so because at some point it’s going to come back it’s One of those things that’s never gone for good if it does go away. And so I just, you know, carry on as if I was normal. And actually, since, since I sent him the questionnaire for you, I have reached out to Lance’s puppy raiser once again, about starting a business. To help again owner trainers in the service dog community, get connected with trainers who are skilled and experienced professionals. That would be on the qualified list the government qualified list because right now, there’s not very many organizations on there, and the ones that are either quite expensive or aren’t taking clients anymore. And it’s getting on that list is a little bit of a challenge to begin with. And a lot of trainers don’t want to go through all of that work or various other reasons, they can only afford to take a couple clients, because they have other clients that we’re working with. And the cost to get on there is a little bit high for some people. So Renee and I have done this before with appeals, we were on the qualified list, and I wrote the policy manual, which is massive work.  So I know. And I can use a lot of that same stuff too. So it’ll be a lot easier for us to get on there. And then we can hire trainers through our program. Because we know what experienced trainers and whatnot would be and so we would be able to get those trainers to work with us, they wouldn’t have to go through the process because we already would be. And we’d have a lot of more trainers available to under trainers across Alberta for some unfortunately, can’t do it as a as a charity, because just don’t have the funding and volunteer fatigue is a huge, huge thing. And I just can’t struggle with trying to wrangle that right now. But I’m hoping to be able to have a sliding scale, or some people who don’t have the same ability or financial stability can still get some training especially there’s grants that the government has available.

Lindsay Recknell  12:00

Sam, there’s so much goodness in there. I need to we need to talk about so. All right. So you’ve got this beautiful dog Lance, and he is telling me what kind of flavor he is.

Sam Hjalmarson  12:09

He is a smooth Collie, a smooth Collie. So you can Google the same rate as Lassie but a different kind of coat. It’s like a short haired coat. Yeah. So you guys can Google that kind of flavor of dog. And you can imagine what Lance looks like because he’s beautiful. It’s very, very cool. Oh, see? CDC a few times and stuff. So there’s pictures of us in the media.

Lindsay Recknell  12:35

Okay, well, we’re gonna link to all those places we can find in the show notes. So everybody can listen to Eric and can see and hear hear more of your story. And how very cool that you rallied people who needed you the most. So it feels like you’ve really found a niche of folks who need this kind of support and weren’t getting it somewhere else.

Sam Hjalmarson  13:15

Ever since I was born, my main drive in life has been to help other people. And at this point, I’ve, I’ve realized that helping people isn’t necessarily about doing what they think is going to help them the most. Because we don’t always know what’s going to be helpful. But I found that where I am happiest is trying to remove barriers for people. So their journey doesn’t have to be as much of a struggle, as it was for me as it is for other people. I just want to try and make things easier for people so they have more energy and more abilities to to enjoy themselves. So it’s not so much of a struggle for them. And and he actually when I when I started Alberta service dog community, my friends, at first were like I you know, I don’t really think it’s worth it. Like there can’t be more than 100 people in the entire province, who who would be interested or who would have service dogs. And last I checked, we were at about 1600 members, mostly in Alberta. There’s some in other provinces, and there’s a couple from different countries, but primarily it’s Alberta, there’s, I’d say at least 85% of the membership is Alberta.

Lindsay Recknell  14:28

So obviously there’s a demand. Yeah, that’s very cool. Yes. Very, very cool. I also love that you helped to put some sort of guidelines and standards around this industry. It blows my mind that there wasn’t

Sam Hjalmarson  14:46

well there still isn’t unfortunately the to the point where it was going out for a second public review. And then the Canadian General Standards Board had to pull out they weren’t able to continue doing it. They didn’t give a reason for why. I know why. But that’s kind of stuff that falls under the confidentially confidentiality agreement that that we signed and stuff. But so unfortunately, there still isn’t a standard. From what I understand the federal government wants to work on one. But that hasn’t started yet, as far as I know. So eventually, there will be but in that, in that time period, like before that started, Alberta didn’t actually the service dogs act in Alberta didn’t cover owner trained service dog teams at all. And since then, they’ve actually created a new program where owner trained teams can get assessed and can actually qualify for protection under that act as well. So there is there is standards in Alberta, under the service dogs Act No.

Lindsay Recknell  15:46

And what is the service dogs act excuse my ignorance? No, not at all

Sam Hjalmarson  15:50

the service dogs act is, is what protects our right to have dogs in public areas where genuine dogs wouldn’t otherwise be be allowed. So we can have service dogs in in restaurants and we can go to the hospital with them and in the stores and people will legally aren’t allowed to deny us access. So it’s one of there’s other legislations while the Human Rights Act does cover, you know, service dogs under there as well. But that’s on a case by case basis. And it’s based on discrimination and duty to accommodate. And with the duty to accommodate as we see with all the masking legislation that went on. That isn’t necessarily like they’re allowed to provide alternative reasonable alternatives. So you know, if you couldn’t go into a grocery store with your mask, but they would say, you can order online and we would deliver it to you, we would like bring it up to you for free, and that kind of thing. So they can offer reasonable alternatives under the Human Rights Act for service dogs. So that’s why the service dogs act is really great. Because with the Human Rights Act, it all comes down to undue hardship. So if they can say, Well, no, you having that dog in here would cause us an undue hardship. You can’t have them in here. But what the Act does is it goes through and make sure that any of the reasons why somebody would be able to claim undue hardship, the service dogs out criteria, has basically gone through and said, No, this dog is safe, this dog isn’t gonna cause any problems, they’re not aggressive. They’ve made sure that, you know, every client does actually have a disability that qualifies for them. So they’ve gone through, and they’ve basically taken all of those negotiation points away and said, No, we guarantee this dog is okay, and it’s not gonna cause problems for you. So you do not have the legal right to say no, in this situation.

Lindsay Recknell  17:33

Very cool. Very cool. Because I know how how important and how beneficial it is to have your dog, it’s, it’s the barrier, the barrier to accessibility, that that act would provide feels really good.

Sam Hjalmarson  17:48

It really does. Like before I had Lance, I couldn’t, like I was in my house two weeks plus at a time without leaving, even to check the mail. And then once I got lands, I was leaving the house three to four times a week without a problem. Since the pandemic, obviously, that has changed quite a bit. But before it so Lance really opened up my world a lot, like just having him I was able to do things that I hadn’t been able to do before him. I mean, I was traveling to Ottawa, flying to Ottawa, to meet with people I’d never met before. And so that that would have been unheard of before I had him. So he service dogs to us, their, their freedom, like, there, it’s really hard to explain it. If you’ve never been like boxed in by anything, but just having having that service dog like the it just opened up your life and, and your ability to do things again, so much. And by the time most people get to the point where they even think about a service dog, they’re out of hope for everything like service dog is their last hope, their last chance at being able to, to have a meaningful and fulfilling life to the extent that they they’ve dreamed of before and they really do change lives and a lot of ways.

Lindsay Recknell  19:02

Well, and and just family pets changed lives. And a lot of ways I can’t imagine the the elevated life changing power of of a dog in this particular case. And so tell me about the training. So I mean, clearly they are very, very well trained. What What kind of special training do you put them through?

Sam Hjalmarson  19:24

Oh, well, a lot of people think that the hardest part of training a service dog is teaching them the tasks that they do to help mitigate the symptoms. But really, that’s the easiest because those are just tricks, you can teach your dog a trick you can teach them to do a task. The hardest thing to teach a service dog is to lay down in a very busy public very busy public area and just relax and do nothing for hours on end. Like imagine trying to have a toddler with you like you know a three year old and have them sit quietly at a table in a restaurant and not do anything else for three plus hours. It’s pretty much the exact same. And so that is really the hardest part is The Public Access side of things, like it’s basically obedience, but obedience in a highly distracting area with a lot going on a lot of stimuli going on. And, and so that’s really the challenging part is, is teaching that and the hardest thing is that you can’t just get any dog to do it. You can’t just grab any dog from the shelter and they’ll be good at it, it takes a specific temperament. And the trick is finding the dog with the right temperament to be able to handle that. Because most dogs find being in public like that really stressful, and it causes a lot of anxiety. And that increases the risk of fear aggression in them. And so it’s you have to be really, really careful about what kind of what kind of dog you choose.

Lindsay Recknell  20:41

And is there a particular breeds that are more prone to being good at this kind of work?

Sam Hjalmarson  20:46

Like, you know, I think of service dogs, I think of retrievers and labs, and, you know,  they’re all breeds that are, are better at it in general, like labs are really great at it. They’re pretty much unflappable if you get the the right, the right line of them. And and retrievers German Shepherds were the original guide dog that were used the guide dog for the blind. They were from the CNI program, the reason that labs actually became so popular is because one of the larger schools that started a person who started like the labs. And so that’s what they used, and then that, because they were breeding them and other programs started just like the service dog schools, they have their own breeding lines that are completely separate, like they breed dogs, specifically over generations and generations. And generations. Like since World War Two, service dogs have really been used a lot more and more and, and so those are the most common, there’s some breeds that are less advisable because of their standard breed temperament. But no, like dogs or like people, and it doesn’t even if you know, a lot of dogs and one one breed will be fairly similar, there’s always going to be unicorns that are different.  So you’ll always see, you know, like, I know a chow that actually is completely different from breed standard and would make a good service dog and but colleagues make really great service dogs for for people who need something called Intelligent Disobedience. And that’s when your dog needs to know when to not listen to you. Because you’re telling them to do something that’s actually not healthy for you or that they need to do something specifically to help you that you’re not recognizing at the time, especially with anxiety or dementia. They make great adventures. This this is dogs, you know, they can tell you if you think your home is one direction, they’re like, no, no, I know my job. I know what I’m doing. You need to listen to me. And then they’ll do the thing that you’re supposed to, Lance would do that a lot. When I was anxious, I’d tell him to lay down and he’d be trying to get on my lap to give me deep pressure therapy. I don’t think he was disobeying me. But no, he was doing his job properly. And I was just too stupid to see it at the time.

Lindsay Recknell  22:57

But so brilliant. Like, how do you recognize if a dog is going to be good at this like is there

Sam Hjalmarson  23:04

it takes alot of experience and a lot of knowledge like it’s of trial and error is really where it starts out for people who don’t, who haven’t been in the industry. But over time, like and there’s some temperament tests that you can do that give you a good general idea. You want a dog that’s going to be calm, but not lazy, confident, but not independent and curious but not easily distractible. You know, the three C’s are a great foundation to start with. And there’s a lot more to it than that. But it’s a pretty good foundation to start with. And really, you need, you want a dog that’s going to be paying attention to you, but not to the extent where if you need it, they’re not going to be disobey you. If if you need that loubs aren’t the best at Intelligent Disobedience. That’s something that you need. Some of them can but as a breed, they’re generally more whatever you want me to do. I’ll do it, please. Yes.

Lindsay Recknell  24:03

We have we have golden retrievers. I totally get it.

Sam Hjalmarson  24:05

Exactly, yeah. But no, it takes an experienced professional to be able to, I mean, even service dog schools who breed specifically for their organizations, even though at the highest only get an 80% success rate, the dogs that they choose, and that’s the ones that they’ve chosen, not just the ones they bred. So the ones that they’ve chosen, even then only 80% at the absolute highest we’ll make it through so

Lindsay Recknell  24:34

well and no wonder it’s so expensive for these organizations to operate. I mean the overhead just testing out some of these dogs and having 20% of them not work out.

Sam Hjalmarson  24:47

And then two years of training because they start you know, they start the moment they’re born, they start they start with the training and and working your way all the way up to two years old when they prepare them with the with with their clients and Then there’s the client side of things where you, you know, there’s things that you need to teach the clients to do. And, and all of that. And it’s a it’s a lot of work. Absolutely.

Lindsay Recknell  25:08

But the benefits are so high, the benefits are so high. So if there’s audience members that are listening, going, Oh, I really want a service dog. Where should they start looking? Well,

Sam Hjalmarson  25:21

the Alberta service dog website is a great place to start the Government of Alberta service dog website, and Alberta service dog community on Facebook, there’s two pages, one’s a community page and one’s a group page. If you go to the group page, there’s, it’s like, you’ve got a admin staff is trained quite well in answering questions. And, and there’s a lot of peer support on there. And the biggest reason that I wanted to start that is because I’d been on other service dog groups before, and a lot of it was beekeeping, a lot of it was you’re not doing this, right, you’re, you know, how dare you do that? And or you’re, you’re gonna screw your dog up. And as you know, in my experience, if people are afraid that they’re going to be judged, they’re not going to ask questions. And if they’re not going to ask the right questions, they’re not going to get the answers to do things in a in the right way. And if with service dogs, especially if people aren’t doing things in the right way, it can actually cause problems for other service dog users. Like if somebody’s got a service dog that has aggression, like there are serious dogs that have been attacked in public and can no longer work because of that. If if too many people aren’t doing the training the right way, we can have our rights to have service dogs taken away because it is no longer safe, or you know, for the public anymore, or that they’re just not unobtrusive enough. And that causes too many problems. So we have to be really careful. But with that, people can’t be afraid to do to ask the questions that they need to ask. So if people if they’re afraid, people are gonna say, No, you’re doing it wrong. How dare you? Like, why don’t you know better? So with Alberta service dog community, I wanted to make a space that was non judgmental. So we work really, really carefully to, you know, answer people’s questions in good faith and assume that they’re asking in good faith. And try to understand that the information is hard to find there’s a lot of information out there that’s wrong. And it’s hard to tell what’s the right information from the wrong information? If you don’t have the background? Like how do you know who’s giving you the right answers? And who’s giving you the wrong answers? So we wanted to make a space where people could answer questions or could ask questions, and where they could come back and say, I messed up, I did this wrong. Can you help me fix it? Without people jumping on and saying, Well, no, you did it wrong. Now you’re gonna you’re now you got to figure it out yourself. Like we want to, we want people to be helping each other and to be open and to be welcoming.

Lindsay Recknell  27:45

Sounds like an incredible place to hang out with service dogs or otherwise. I mean, imagine if we had more supportive communities described that way. That’d be I mean, elevating collective wellness. Yeah, well, it sounds like it sounds amazing. So tell me, like, so I’m hearing you say that the industry is not well regulated. But not like, I can’t, you know, take my newborn Collie and say, You, I deem you a service dog and like, take him to dinner with me, can I?

Sam Hjalmarson  28:21

No, no, you do need to have a disability that the service dog is able to mitigate. That’s the very baseline. And that’s what the human rights covers on its own. So the dog has to be able to help you mitigate your disability in some way. And you have to have a disability and the Human Rights Act under the Human Rights Act. If your disability isn’t visibly obvious, they are allowed to ask you for proof of disability, which is generally just a note from your doctor saying yes, this person has a disability. And this dog is able to help mitigate that. So as the as the very baseline, and they need to be safe to the public. That’s the other thing is they need to be trained in a way that is not going to cause problems for the public. So they can’t hurt me. They can’t be lunging. They can’t be you know, barking, like consistently. Basically, if somebody would get in trouble for having a child do it, you’re gonna get in trouble for having a dog. You know, they can’t go to the bathroom on the floor. And, you know, oh, yes, we all you know, everybody has had accidents, Lance has had about three in his in his lifetime, and I’ve had to clean up and leave the store and come back another day to do to do my stuff. It happens. But you know, the show and things like you just, you have to be respectful of the space that you’re in and the dog has to be has to be safe and has to be trained well enough that they’re not going to cause problems. So not anybody can just grab a vest off of the internet and say, Oh, yes, this is my service dog. But in my experience to the people that are doing that, at least 90% of them would actually benefit from having a service dog in the first place. And if they don’t have a disability, it’s likely just that they haven’t I’ve been diagnosed with one because I don’t recognize what qualifies. severe anxiety does qualify as a disability, if it causes you functional limitations in your daily life if you’re avoiding going to the store, because you’re, you know, you’re just too anxious, you don’t want to be around people. And you’re like, Oh, well, I want to bring my pet dog because I’m, you know, it’s like, I actually feel good going to the store, then chances are, you would qualify to have a service dog on here or disability in situations like that. So about 90% of the people I’ve come across that have fake service dogs, air quotes around the word fake, I don’t like that word, but actually need a service dog and just don’t understand enough about it, to be able to ask the right questions to get them on the journey.

Lindsay Recknell  30:41

Well, and you know, you bring up such a great point about, there’s just, there’s just so much we don’t know about what’s available to us. And I think for so long, especially with mental health and you know, diagnosing diagnoseable mental illnesses, we don’t know enough about what that means and what this what the symptoms are, you know, the the stigma is still high enough that we’re afraid to ask questions, or ask our doctor about it. And there is so much help available if we just have that hope to take the action to do something about it. And conversations like this really, really, I think really helped with that advocacy, and really help spread that awareness.

Sam Hjalmarson  31:23

One of the reasons I like doing stuff like this, because I’m one of the people who has the ability and the willingness to talk about this. And so I like to talk about it as much as possible, because I understand that, you know, the more it’s talked about, the more awareness is brought to it. Well, I’ve been approached in stores by people, when I had Lance, and have wound up having like, hour long conversations with them in the middle of an eye. And I’ll,

Lindsay Recknell  31:50

I will I bet you’re just so approachable and easy to ask questions of and so I imagine that people would be very, very curious, especially, you know, people who are, who are personal to dogs anyway, and, and he’s very sweet. I mean, I would I’d stop you in an aisle and ask questions to Sam, tell me, what gives you hope.

Sam Hjalmarson  32:15

Watching people’s life change, when they start taking those steps that tear down the barriers in their own life, and, and being a part of that is just really incredible, being able to help people take down those barriers, is it’s indescribable. I’ve saved lives, I’ve had people come back and say that I’ve saved their lives. And, and it’s just knowing that, like, even with the ripples of that, because then they go on, and then they talk about their experiences and, and like, for every one person I know, I’ve helped. There’s so many that have been helped that I that I don’t, will never know about. And I find that like that, that gives me a lot of hope to keep doing this because it makes a difference.

Lindsay Recknell  33:07

It truly truly makes a difference. I can imagine how many lives you have positively affected not only from lands, but all of the people you’ve interacted with, and all of the you know all of the great advocacy and awareness work that you’re doing. It is such a pleasure to have you on the show. Thank you for sharing your story and lenses story with us. Tell us how people can get a hold of you. Or pardon me, they can get a hold of you on the Facebook group. And we’ll put the links in, in the show notes for all of that. So that’ll be awesome. I know you’re gonna have some brand new members. So watch for those. And thank you so much, again for sharing your sharing your wisdom with us.

Sam Hjalmarson  33:46

I’m not personally involved on the web on the Facebook group so much myself anymore. I keep a general eye on it. People want to speak to me. Personally, I think I’ve left my Twitter information there too. So people can reach out to me on Twitter and stuff and perfect. We will be very happy to within here. Thank you.

Lindsay Recknell  34:03

Yeah, we’ll definitely put all the links to that in the show notes. And yeah, look forward to keeping the conversation going. Sam, thank you so so much. You’re welcome. Take care. Yet another incredible story. I mean, I literally say that after every episode, but I wouldn’t publish episodes. I didn’t think were incredible. Now what I I mentioned in the introduction, that it’s my sincere privilege to share space with these guests to bring their stories and their expertise to the podcast airwaves. And honestly, I learned so much from their wisdom at the same time. That’s the thing about this work. It’s in the storytelling, the language we use to express our innermost narratives. That’s what has the most power of transformation. Sometimes when we don’t know the words to use, we just won’t say anything at all. And that can lead to negative rumination when the stressors in our lives can lead to burnout. The topic of burnout stress and why the differences between the two matter is something we talk a lot about in my most popular training workshop titled From Burnout to Hope. In this 60 minute workshop, you’ll learn to apply evidence based strategies and tactics to reverse your feelings of overwhelm and languishing and activate the hope circuit in your brain for a future better than today. It’s transformational, personal, and dare I say, guaranteed to increase your hope levels. You’ve heard me say it 100 times. But I believe that fear is louder in the dark. And talking about loud about the fears, aspirations, and the anxiety inducing situations we find ourselves in is an amazing way to move towards the transformation of a future better than today. If you’d like to learn more about language, and how you can leverage the science of hope in your life, I’d love to share from burnout to hope training workshop with you. You can find more information about it on my website at https://expertinhope.com/burnouttohope. I truly believe that the future will be better than today by taking action over the things we can control in conversations like this really reinforced that hope. Looking forward to keeping the conversation going. So reach out anytime. As always. I’m here when you need me.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Lindsay Recknell | Expert in Hope | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram

Take Hope Home!

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