In an entry on The Huffington Post, Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society, discusses how dogs are helping veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan cope with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after service:
Many have difficulty finding employment, sever important relationships in their lives, and suffer diminished capacity to function in society. They may face their post-war emotional struggles alone, and it may be too much to bear. Mental illness, isolation, and suicide are not uncommon outcomes.
Amid such anguish there is hope. In yet another benefit of the human-animal bond, dogs are now being enlisted to help these veterans reclaim their emotional balance. In an experimental program, the federal government is providing preliminary support to connect some veterans with trained dogs to help them heal.
The current program has shown some promise in both reducing symptoms and reliance on medication. Dogs provided to veterans are psychiatric trained service dogs, some of which have been trained through the Puppies Behind Bars program which also stimulates rehabilitation of prison inmates.
Photo by onkel_wart