Healing PTSD with Pets for Vets
“Healing Power of Pets: Veteran with PTSD finds new life with dog” is a video profiling a United States Marine Corps veteran who served in the Iraq war and like many returning veterans, suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Blade, a brave, strong man, developed debilitating symptoms of PTSD including suicidal thoughts, and nearly ended his own life.
Fortunately, he connected with Pets for Vets instead. They’re a 501(c) non-profit organization who rescue dogs from shelters, rehabilitate and train them to become certified psychiatric service dogs, and match them to veterans who can benefit from these special companions.
Blade was paired with a puppy named DD and from the moment they met, a weight was lifted from his shoulders. Watch the video for a touching description of what happened when they were introduced, and how DD has changed his life.
Pets for Vets is a great organization that’s always seeking donors and volunteers as well as veterans to be recipients of service dogs (free!). You can help by donating funds or doing things like fostering, training dogs, writing grants, and other behind the scenes tasks.
Studies have repeatedly confirmed the therapeutic benefits of service animals and pets. Therese Borchard wrote about some of that research in her review of the book “A Dog Named Slugger,” and Alicia Sparks also reported positive news in a review of “Puppy Chow is Better than Prozac.”
But perhaps the most powerful words come from DD’s companion, Blade, who says DD saved his life.
“I have a message to other vets,” he says. “Whatever it is that we’ve gone through or not gone through or whoever it is that we are, you should be proud of what you’ve done, proud of who you are, and accept that there’s something that’s hurting you. And admit…that it’s OK to ask for help.”
If you are an American veteran experiencing suicidal thoughts, connect to confidential support available 24/7 at the Veteran’s Help Line, and consider getting a service dog.
Kiume, S. (2013). Healing PTSD with Pets for Vets. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 28, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/channeln/2013/02/healing-ptsd-with-pets-for-vets/