International Assistance Dog Week celebrates these canine angels of help.
Posted in , Aug 5, 2016
A little canine love and support makes our lives richer. So often the service of these animals can be like having an angel in our lives. This is especially true if you’re a veteran facing challenges from disabilities including PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Personally, I’ve known several veterans whose lives have been enriched with the help of these animals, which is why I want to highlight International Assistance Dog Week (August 7-13).
Assistance dogs have come a long way from just the seeing-eye dogs I knew about when I was young. There are now service dogs for the hearing impaired, as well as for those who are wheelchair bound.
The newest category of service dog offers emotional support to help our service men and women dealing with PTSD. Several studies have shown that with this kind of help, veterans can see a decrease in symptoms and a reduction in medication.
Dogs trained to assist those with PTSD learn to stand ahead or behind the handler to block crowds or approaching people. They can be commanded to enter a room ahead of the handler, checking for possible PTSD triggers. They know when and how to wake their owner from nightmares and flashback episodes.
I’ve talked to veterans who now have these dogs and each one is quick to point out that their canine partner is a gift from God, enabling them to return to a more normal life.
For more information on how to support the training and placement of these dogs, I’m including a list of sites to visit: