Many veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder have discovered a unique kind of help in dogs. Being with dogs enable them to cope and get back with normal life. Specially trained service dogs acts as a guide or emotional companion to war veterans who are suffering from the disorder.
PTSD can develop after a person has been through a terrifying ordeal or an event that has been very traumatizing with fear and stress as consistent catalysts. A person suffering from the disorder will have a “fight or flight” response that will be triggered even if there is no presence of danger is within the surrounding area.
These special dogs will whine, bark, press their warmth against the leg, or simply stay with the veteran whenever the person loses their composure.
A 20-acre farm north of Fayetteville has become a place for healing for wear veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Horses That Heal is a non-profit organization serves both veterans and youth that are at-risk of acquiring the disorder with equine assisted psycho-therapy. The organization is situated at Avalon Farms and is located at East Reeves Bridge Road.
The Department of Veteran Affairs have reported that an average of 11 to 20 percent of war veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. People that have not yet given the program a try are usually hitting “rock bottom.” Although the therapy is not targeted for just about anyone, those who have tried it have found it to be more helpful than other treatments.
Source: Equine-assisted therapy helps soldiers deal with PTSD
Doc, a retired racing greyhound was trained as a service dog for Marine Corps veteran Jesse Bergeron who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Same as Bergeron, Leonardo Salas also suffers the same disorder and was given a service dog whom he named Scout.
The dogs help them focus when their owners start to get anxious in a crowded place. Greyhounds, for instance, tend to be a sensitive breed with a calming presence, making them a perfect match for an anxious combat veteran.
Pres. Rosenblum of Greyhound Pets of America in West Palm Beach works closely with the kennel owners to find canines for the Hero Project.
When retired Army Staff Sgt. Brian K. Pearce awoke from a two-month coma, it had left him with a very narrow field of vision, short-term memory loss, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The last thing he knew was his Humvee jerking violently, the smell of explosives, and a shrapnel from a roadside bomb that shot through his skull. A 3-year old black Labrador Retriever by the name of Gunner helps the veteran feel “human again.”
The dog was provided to the veteran by the non-profit organization Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind in early 2013. The black Labrador Retriever helps his owner avoid obstacles while walking, awaken him from nightmares, and guide him outside a crowded place when he is experiencing flashbacks from his days in active duty.
The retired Army Staff Sergeant said that the road to recovery is still filled with “dark days” but teaming with Gunner has aided him in regaining independence.
Source: Dog helps Purple Heart war veteran ‘feel human again
Service dogs play a vital role in individuals who suffer from PTSD. Capt. Jason Haag, a war veteran, is one of those people, reports Dr. Katy Nelson of Wtop.com.
His case of PTSD was very difficult to cope with. Simple tasks such as attending family events and doing errands was a struggle. Jason’s relationships suffered as well. Not to be won over by his
condition, the man decided to seek out help.
That was when he contacted K9s for Warriors, an organization that provides war veterans with service dogs for free. Jason was eventually paired with a service dog and began attending training classes. Most of the canines being used in the program are rescue animals.
The war veteran credits his recovery from PTSD to his relationship with the service dog and now plays an active role as a father.
Like humans, dogs can also suffer from anxiety. The root of the problem has to do with a canine’s self esteem, which has a lot to do with how they were raised, or whether or not they experienced physical or emotional trauma (PTSD), reports Marisa Dalessandro of Zoo Too.
Building the confidence that a dog needs to overcome anxiety may take some time. A great way to help a pet combat anxiety is through exercise. The chances of a tired animal panicking are a lot less compared to one that is filled with energy.
For long-term remedies, counter-conditioning is an effective method. The technique involves changing the negative mindset that a canine has about a specific traumatic situation into a positive one. This requires repeating the same event until the dog disassociates the feeling of anxiety with the activity.
Source: Dog Anxiety Causes and Treatment Options
PEACE Ranch is a facility that caters to the needs of individuals with physical and mental conditions, reports Marionette Kubicz of Morning Star Publishing.
One of their programs called Equine Assisted Veterans Services (EAVS), revolve around the use of horse therapy. The curriculum is recommended for war veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can cause an ex-solider to become socially challenged. Working with horses can boost their self-confidence, as they slowly transition towards a civilian lifestyle.
Jacquelyn Kaschel, the Executive Director of PEACE Ranch, is certified by Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association, Inc. (EAGALA) to conduct advance horse therapy sessions. Apart from PTSD, individuals with a variety of disorders such as anxiety, chronic pain, and autism can also benefit from the program.
The organization has plans to extend their services in order to reach out to more people who are in need of healing.
Source: Trusting bonds
A service dog ran away due to a sudden scare, leaving his owner, Jeff Wilson, anxious and worried about its safety. Lobo, the service animal, is helping Jeff recover from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), reports Edward Ngai of San Jose Mercury News.
The war veteran relies on Lobo for a number of tasks due to his injuries and condition. The service dog also comes with an abusive past, which Jeff tries to cater to by being a providing owner. They reciprocate each other’s affection and companionship, making the bond strong.
The soldier warns individuals who come across the canine not chase after it. Instead, let the distressed dog come naturally without force.
Source: San Jose: Lost dog was trained to help vet with PTSD
A service dog and its owner must be compatible in order to have a functioning relationship. Terrance McGlade, a soldier, suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and was looking for a service pet, reports Angela Lutz of the Huffington Post.
Major is his service pet. The rescue dog came with a number of behavioral issues due to a rough past. Nevertheless, the bond was forged and Terrance worked closely with the canine to ensure that it was equipped with essential service skills.
Both parties trained at Stiggy’s Dogs, an organization that deals with dogs and war veterans. Together, Major and Terrance changed each other’s lives.
Source: Nonprofit ‘Stiggy’s Dogs’ Trains Companions For Veterans Living With PTSD (PHOTOS)
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is difficult to deal with because it can strike anytime. Liz Hansen, a war veteran, suffers from PTSD due to her experience during deployment, reports Teri Vance of the Nevada Appeal.
The soldier has a service dog that helps her cope with the symptoms of PTSD. Jack, a 2-year old dog, can keep Liz’s state of mind in the present when depression or anxiety hits. He is also trained to take note of exits in a building, and will guide the woman out when he notices signs of a panic attack.
Liz now works as a health nurse and still continues to bring Jack around everywhere she goes.
Source: Service dog helps Afghanistan war vet deal with anxiety