With their unconditional love and goofy acts, dogs make a difference in millions of lives every day. But for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and related conditions, trained service dogs can provide life-saving help. Several organizations are making a difference by placing service dogs with veterans, including K9s for Warriors, reported USA Today on September 16.
The non-profit K9’s for Warriors currently has a waiting list of more than one year for service dogs. But for a veteran such as Erick Scott, the benefits are worth the wait. A husband and father, Scott served in Iraq and assumed that his homecoming would be completely positive. But the effects of PTSD haunted him until he received his service dog. And now, although he still battles his condition, his dog offers daily reinforcement towards his recovery.
K9s for Warriors founder Shari Duval explained that the service dogs provide a way for veterans to “reset” their emotions. Each veteran stays at the facility for three weeks for a period of personalized training and “getting to know you” relaxation. All services to the veterans are free.
Another organization, called Courageous Companions, also is earning praise for its role in placing service dogs with veterans and soldiers who have PTSD, reported Global News on September 15.
After serving two tours in Bosnia, Tyson King experienced PTSD. His anxiety was so extreme that he searched through grass on his hands and knees, trying to reassure himself that no live ammunition was hidden. For men like King, a service dog can become a life-changing companion.
“We (have) guys that were taking 25 to 30 medications down to three, four or five,” revealed master trainer George Leonard. “We had people that had multiple suicide attempts that are now not trying to kill themselves and their families are back together.”
Leonard trains the dogs and works with veterans in Winnipeg. He evaluates each person carefully to understand his needs.
“I need to see how stressed (they) are and what level of training I need to put into the dog to make sure (they) are going to be safe in public,” explained Leonard.
In recent years, service dogs have become invaluable for all types of situations. As The Inquisitr reported, some service dogs are even welcome in classrooms, where they are used to help special needs children learn to read.
Dogs who work for their biscuits are finding multiple ways to provide help for the humans they love. While service dogs help people with emotional or physical disabilities, therapy dogs can provide unconditional love for those in nursing homes.
Just as with service dogs for veterans with PTSD, researchers have discovered that trained pets can help seniors with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, reported the Houston Chronicle on September 16.
Therapy dogs in such situations can help patients feel calmer and even encourage them to socialize. And regardless of the situation, dogs earn praise for their acceptance of all types of people in all types of situations.
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