A New Leash on Life for Veterans and Rescue Dogs

By Mindy K. Urueta

fullcolorlogo (1) With a goal of supporting our post-9/11 military veterans and encouraging a dignified and independent return journey to civilian life, K9s For Warriors is a nonprofit organization located on the First Coast with a mission of matching wounded vets with rescue dogs that have been trained as service dogs. Dedicated to helping post-9/11 veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or brain injury, K9s For Warriors has worked with over 160 former military to provide them with a canine companion to assist them in reintegrating into life back home.

The Facts

Service dogs can significantly reduce symptoms of PTSD and depression in veterans, according to the preliminary findings of a Kaiser Permanente study. While little scientific research has been done on anthrozoology—the study of human-to-nonhuman interaction—the results we do have are indisputable. Studies have shown the bond formed between a veteran and a dog to be not only positive, but life-altering. Veterans have reported receiving a variety of benefits from their service dogs: fewer nightmares, reduced need for medications, improved sense of security, decreased anxiety and overall improvements in quality of life.

PTSD has not always been a recognized risk of war. We are now coming to understand the trauma soldiers endure and are finding ways to help heal the wounded. The heartbreaking truth is every 65 minutes a hero who fought for our country takes their own life and an estimated 20 percent of vets who served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. As of September 2014, there were about 2.7 million veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, according to a study done by the RAND Corporation.… Read the rest

Source: MMS