Hope For Veterans

January 4, 2021

E5 Therapy opened in April with a different way to help veterans in therapy.

They offer canine-assisted therapy along with talk therapy to veterans and veterans’ families in Solano County.

Owner Matthew Decker is a licensed clinical social worker in Northern California, focused on helping veterans achieve their mental health goals.

Along with his team, trained service dog Larson, who is a golden retriever and lab mix, and Maggie Mae, a black lab, Decker has worked for community mental health agencies, Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense and the California Department of State Hospitals.

Maggie is now in retirement, working part-time as she feels like it, usually one day per week.

“The name comes from the military pay grade of sergeant, who is a working supervisor,” Decker said. “They aren’t afraid to work through the dirty stuff and therapy can be dirty.”

Decker said he believes that attaining a healthy state of mental health takes working through some nasty, dirty feelings, memories and emotions that are tough to deal with, and he is there for his clients day or night to help them become healthier mentally.

“The pain is real,” he said. “And I am not the type of person to shy away from it.”

Decker served in the U.S. Marine Corps. That is where he realized that so many soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines need therapy.

Canine-assisted therapy helps people, because dogs never judge you for crying, he said. They don’t care how many tears you shed, have no timetable and they aren’t going anywhere.

“In the long run it allows clients to take down their defenses much faster,” Decker said. “I am able to dig deeper and faster once they feel safe. This leads to success for the clients.”

Decker also offers a dog-fostering program for clients who may need to go into an in-service facility for a time and might be faced with surrendering their own dogs because of it.

“We can take them for up to 90 days and if we need to, we can hold them longer,” he said.

E5 Therapy is a small and growing nonprofit business organization so Decker said he relies on donations to help facilitate the program.

He said he needs volunteers to help with the foster program as well as other duties like IT work. Decker said he plans to expand the nonprofit in the future into a larger building with more therapists and canine companions.

“One hundred percent of the donations go to help vets who can’t afford to go to therapy or continue therapy,” Decker said.

He has worked hard during the Covid-19 pandemic to create a safe, healthy space for talk therapy. He offers sessions through the Zoom teleconference platform, in person and over the phone. He said he prefers to do sessions without masks because it is easier to read people that way.

“With Covid, I am willing to engage people where they are most comfortable,” Decker said.

The office space has gloves, a UVC air purifying machine to clear the air, hand sanitizers and a machine with UVC light to clean cellphones while clients talk.

Covid-19 is allowing people with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder to avoid people and places. Decker said he knows that this will have a huge impact on their mental health and hopes that those who are suffering will reach out before they find themselves in a mental crisis.

Decker said he hopes those who have anxiety and depression in this time understand they don’t have to go into battle alone with mental health issues, Covid-19 anxiety and PTSD – they have a friend just a phone call away.

  • Most Recent News

    Former Victoria man’s diabetic alert dog helps him get back to life

    June 2, 2021

    When Luke Hengen’s diabetes worsened in his early twenties, it stripped him of the outdoor activities where the country kid felt at home. Countless wilderness adventures and years of hard-fought football games took a toll on his body, to the point where he could no longer sense when his blood sugar was too high or […]

    Read more

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    January 8, 2021

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    January 8, 2021

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    January 8, 2021

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    January 7, 2021

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    January 7, 2021

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more

    The Right Rescue Dog

    January 7, 2021

    If your New Year’s resolution is to add a canine family member, good for you. Somewhere out there is the perfect puppy or adult dog for your family. You have a lot of things to think about when you begin to look for that new family member, puppy or dog? Large or small? Purebred or […]

    Read more

    Police Dog Attack

    January 7, 2021

    A resolution headed to the Duluth City Council on Monday could put to rest a lawsuit filed by Teri Lynn Ehlers, an employee of the Patch Motel, who was bitten by a Duluth police dog named Oakley. Former Duluth Police Officer Marc Johnson was a registered guest of the Warroad establishment May 28, 2018, when […]

    Read more

    PAWS With A Cause

    January 7, 2021

    Pebble Hill Plantation and the Thomas County Public Library are pleased to announce the upcoming Enlightening Bites program, “PAWS With a Cause,” on Friday, January 8, 2021 at noon in the Flipper Room of the Library. The program is being presented by Jeri Anderson, field representative. Anderson is recently retired from the City of Monticello, […]

    Read more

    Police Canine Team

    January 7, 2021

    Kingston Police revealed in a news release late Wednesday afternoon that they’ve been keeping a four-legged secret for roughly three months. The force announced it added a second canine unit, with the arrival of police service dog Dak this past October. He is working with Const. Jeff Dickson, while police service dog Bask is working […]

    Read more

    More Recent News