Pit bulls, though often associated with violence and dog bites, are more often used for a therapy dog than you might think. More specifically, pit bull therapy dogs for post-traumatic stress disorder. The Inquisitr reported in April about Patrick Boyd's plight. The former marine was fighting to keep his pit bull therapy dog, Veronica, in Lakewood City, Ohio. According to WSOC TV, in North Carolina, pit bull therapy dogs appear to be a far more accepted situation than in Ohio. Operation Sidekick is a Charlotte, North Carolina effort to pair soldiers who are suffering from PTSD with pit bull dogs for the purpose and use as a therapy dog.
American Pit Bull Foundation is the group that has spearheaded the project to pair a PTSD soldier with a pit bull therapy dog, under the age-old idea of a dog being "Man's best friend."
One such local soldier, Tripp, was paired with his pit bull therapy dog, Tank. He was diagnosed with PTSD after serving two tours in Iraq, and one in Cuba. Prior to the APBF pairing, things were not going very socially well for Tripp.
"I've had to take medication throughout the day. I didn't like social environments."After Tripp and Tank the pit bull were paired up, he said that his uneasiness, stress, and anxiety lifted. As the APBF watched the soldier train Tank, and change so dramatically through their bond, it inspired them to start Operation Sidekick in Charlotte, NC.
Tank the pit bull has had his fair share of battle wounds too. The three-year-old pit bull was hit by a car prior, and still carries the scars on his face from that incident. According to APBF volunteer Jennifer Hunt, Tank would have been otherwise euthanized, and many soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress order have done the same to themselves.
"Every day, 22 veterans commit suicide (nationwide)," explained Jennifer Hunt, "and 4,000 pit bulls are euthanized each day. We are going to take pit bulls and train them to be therapy or service dogs for veterans with PTSD."
The pairing of PTSD soldier with injured pit bulls for therapy is a mutual partnership, but sadly, it is a costly one. Hunt said that the pit bull training costs $30,000, and that is why they are having a "Rescue Me 5K" in Charlotte to raise funds for this project to help pit bulls on death row, and soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The race will also have pit bull and other dogs for adoption on October 17 at McAlpine Creek Park, 8711 Monroe Road in Charlotte, NC.
The American Pit Bull Foundation holds other similar events for the very same purpose, and they are all based in North Carolina.
What are your thoughts on those project? Is this a good match-up, or a problem waiting to happy? Leave your thoughts and opinions below.
[Image Via Operation Side]