Monday, October 24, 2011

Therapy and Service Dogs for Our Veterans


An increasing number of service dogs are needed for veterans who have returned home with physical disabilities or blindness. A new category of service dogs for which there is an increased need is the dog who works with people who have PTSD–post traumatic stress disorder.
The bond between people and animals is a strong one-and can even be a healing one. Pets are good for our emotional and physical health, and studies show that having a pet can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Caring for a companion animal provides a sense of purpose and fulfillment and lessens feelings of loneliness and isolation in people of all ages.
For wounded warriors and disabled veterans, caring for a pet can help them reenter society and avoid stress or depression. And if the soldier suffered serious injuries while serving our country, a service dog can provide much-needed assistance and critical care.
Yes, they provide companionship. But they can also detect changes in a person’s breathing, perspiration or scent to anticipate and ward off an impending panic attack with some well-timed nuzzling. They are trained to let their masters know when it’s time to take their medication and to wake them from terrifying nightmares.
Service dogs raise their masters’ sense of well-being. There is evidence to suggest that increasing their numbers would reduce the alarming suicide rate among veterans, decrease the number of hospitalizations, and lower the cost of medications and human care.

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