Each November, we take time to honor those who have served their countries, in times of peace and conflict, by reflecting on the sacrifices they have made. Often our Veterans return from service forever changed.
One important way to help provide long-term, rehabilitative care, for a wide range of challenges is to match a Veteran with a service dog. Working animals are specially trained, and once matched with the right person, the reciprocal bond is unique and transformational. Service dogs work side-by-side with their handler to provide the utmost level of assistance, support, and companionship.
We would like to salute the incredible work and sacrifice of both parties. We all know the special place that in an animal can have in our homes and hearts, but the work of a service dog is incomparable. They are providing a safe place for veterans to recover, transition, and thrive in daily life.
In honor of Veterans Day and Remembrance Day – thank you to all those have served!
On-going care for our veterans
The function and types of service dogs
A service dog is a working dog that is on-duty to assist the handler in day-to-day operations. There are different types of work that service dogs perform. Similarly, According to the ADA, a service dog is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Because each dog trains for a specific job, there are various types of service dogs.
Types of service dogs
Guide dogs, Hearing dogs, Mobility dogs, Medical Alert, and Medical response dogs are all provided to support handlers. Also, service dogs are incredibly helpful with veterans to overcome Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. From monitoring symptoms to providing ongoing care, each working dog is skilled to aid their match.
Supporting post-traumatic stress
The support of a service dog in assisting with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD) has shown to be quite effective. According to Psychology Today, “Survey results also showed that veterans with a service dog had less sleep disturbance, lower levels of anxiety and anger.” Similarly, the use of a service dog lower levels of cortisol, reduce stress and anxiety, provide comfort, and lower blood pressure.
Transitioning back into a civilian lifestyle could be difficult for some veterans. Often, a service dog can provide a safe space to learn, grow, and adapt. It has been shown the comfort and bond is irreplaceable. Similarly, working dogs have literally saved some veterans lives, grappling on the cusp of alcohol and/or drug abuse.
Organizations and Resources
There are quite a few organizations that can assist a veteran with additional resources and potential placement.
K9s for Warriors
Paws for Purple Hearts
United States Department of Veteran Affairs
Working dogs become an integral part of their handler’s lives, and need care and attention. Dogs have a way of providing a sense of reciprocal love and enhancing a sense of responsibility for oneself and others. This can go a long way in providing comfort, care, and connection.