The impact of a service dog: Military veteran and 3Mer shares his life-changing story
Nov 11, 2020

At 3M, we are proud to employ veterans, and value the leadership and teamwork they bring to the organization. One of these veterans who brings so much to 3M is Nathan Flint, a former Lightwheel Mechanic and Peacekeeper who was stationed out of Fort Polk, Wis. and deployed to Bosnia, Germany and Iraq before receiving a medical discharge in 2004. Now an infrastructure COE lead in 3M’s IT department, Nathan is also the owner of a service dog named Bonnie, who helps him with his anxiety and PTSD.

Though many would feel nervous asking their employer if they could bring a dog to work, Nathan says he heard about Believet, the organization where he got Bonnie from, through an event 3M’s Military Support & DisAbility Networks organized. So, when he brought the idea up to his managers, they were incredibly supportive from the start. “I have told many people that if I did not work for 3M, I would probably not be working. 3M’s culture of inclusivity and support is the reason I am working now,” he says.

According to Nathan, Bonnie and 3M’s supportive work culture have made a huge difference in his life, especially during the pandemic. “Bonnie has helped me maintain my balance during this crazy time of uncertainty. For example, my anxiety became overwhelming about a month ago. I was not able to go to the store or leave the house for a couple of days. I took a couple of days off then slowly started to go outside with Bonnie – first small trips and then longer ones, until I eventually made it to the store,” he explains. “3M’s FlexAbility program, which gives 3Mers the autonomy to customize when and where they work best, and the support of my management, have made it possible to continue to work and at the same time take care of myself when I need to, too. There is no added pressure that I have to deal with if I need to take some time to work through my PTSD or anxiety.”

Not only have Nathan and Bonnie become great coworkers, but they’ve also become movie stars, as they were both recently featured in a local documentary.

Nathan explains, “The Executive Director from Believet reached out to me and asked if I’d be willing to be part of a documentary that they were doing with Twin Cities Public Television. I wanted to be a part of this because of the huge impact Bonnie has had on my life. Currently it’s very difficult for veterans to get service dogs, so I hope that this will bring attention to the need for service dogs for veterans.”

Nathan says that he hopes more employers can recognize the value veterans bring and take disabled veterans where they are and allow them to grow personally and professionally. And he has a message for other veterans who might be struggling during this time: “Remember to take life one day at a time and enjoy every moment to the best of your ability.”

As for him and Bonnie? “I know that no matter what happens with the current situation in the world, Bonnie and I can face it together and thrive in life.”

If you are interested in working for an employer who recognizes the value veterans bring, visit our Careers site.

View the full Believet documentary, “A Dog’s Service,” here.

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