HARTLAND, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – A trip to the West Coast and back: just a Hartland man, his motorcycle and his dog. Thomas Sarnowski just got back from a vacation most people could only dream of. It took him 20 days. Sarnowski logged 68-hundred miles on his Honda Goldwing, through 16 states, and 12 National Parks. All with Rylee, his West Highland Terrier. He’s buckled into a basket on the back of Sarnowski’s bike ready to ride.
Rylee is Sarnowski’s service dog. Sarnowski retired from the United States Air Force in 2004 after more than two decades of service. Doctors diagnosed him with PTSD and Chronic Anxiety a few years ago. Without Rylee looking after him, Sarnowski says he would never have gotten far, “Having a human on the back is different than having a service dog on the back. He’s never argued once with me where we are going. He’s my life. He’s my lifeline.”
The American Psychiatric Association has been studying the impact service animals have on vets. One study found a reduction in symptoms and improved social interactions.
Sarnowski says next year he might take Rylee on a road trip through Canada.