Below is a great article about a program at the Wounded Warrior Battalion West – Detachment Hawaii where wounded warriors participate in helping train service dogs. I’m really happy to see more of these programs being implemented and expanding to other medical facilities to help our warriors as they go through the recovery process. I am a huge supporter of these programs as I had the privilege of watching how much warriors benefit from them after having worked at the WWBn – Detachment San Diego Naval Medical Center. It doesn’t take a doctor to tell you interacting with a dog can improve your morale. Thank you Hawaii Fi-Do for supporting our troops!!
Lance Cpl. Joshua Jablon has nightmares from time to time.
Fortunately, he has a new friend he can count on to wake him and offer him comfort when necessary. Through Hawaii Fi-Do, wounded warriors like Jablon are learning to heal, with some canine care.
Since July 15, Marines of Wounded Warrior Battalion West — Detachment Hawaii have been working with specially trained dogs from the local nonprofit organization in an effort to help the mental and emotional healing process for the warriors.
During the six-week program, wounded service members interact
and train with dogs for up to two hours. On average, about six to eight participants come to each session, and as many as 16 can come at a time. The service member must receive a referral from a mental healthcare professional to be eligible for the program.
What an incredible story behind an incredible organization. One of the grimm realities of war are the psychological issues veterans face when they come home. Dave Sharpe is one of those veterans and almost let PTSD get the best of him by holding a loaded gun in his mouth and was ready to pull the trigger when his 6 month old pit bull named Cheyenne came to his rescue. Dave refrained from pulling the trigger and has since put his energy into helping other veterans dealing with PTSD by providing pets through his organization called Pets 2 Vets. Read and watch the full story below.
For too many veterans, the battles don’t end when they come home from war. Combat stress has no easy cure. But one vet found peace was a lot closer than he thought and now he’s helping others find it, too. CBS News correspondent Chip Reid has his story.
Dave Sharpe calls his pit bull Cheyenne his savior, and that’s no exaggeration. When she was just a puppy, she saved his life
Sharpe served with the U.S. Air Force security forces in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. After two near-death experiences, he returned home with severe post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Before I met her, I was a wreck,” said Sharpe. “I was out of control, I would start fights for no reason.”
Deeply depressed and filled with rage, he decided to end his misery with his pistol.
“[I] cocked it back, put it right in my mouth and I sat there and cried for about a minute or two,” Sharpe recalled. “I was this close to pulling the trigger.”
That’s when Cheyenne, who was then six months old, came to his rescue.
A great story about a great organization called Helping Hounds located in Pennsylvania. Most of the breeds being used as service dogs and therapy dogs have been Labradors and Retrievers, it’s great to see an English Springer Spaniel being used. To make it even better, it is a rescue dog. Great job by Helping Hounds, please read and share stories like these to help spread the great work rescue dogs can be in helping our veterans!
When Douglas Maugans is plagued by nightmares of war, he can always count on Tanner to wake him up.
The 5-year-old English springer spaniel presses the touch pad on Maugans’ nightstand with his nose to turn the light on, gets up on his master’s chest and lies there for as long as he’s needed.
Two years ago, Tanner became a medical service dog through Helping Hounds, a program sponsored by the Central Pennsylvania Animal Alliance of Mechanicsburg, which works out of an airplane hanger at the Capital City Airport in Fairview Township.
Volunteers teach veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder to train their dogs.
Maugans saved Tanner from a rescue shelter in New Orleans four years ago, and now Tanner was ready to save his master.
Great interview with Jennifer Lund, the President and Founder of Hero Dogs-”Service Dogs for America’s Heroes.” This organization is doing a great job in providing service dogs to our veterans.
Amazing report bringing awareness of how Pit Bulls can help veterans cope with PTSD. Pit Bulls tend to have a bad reputation when it comes to their temperament but that is only if they are trained incorrectly. They can be incredible companions just like any other breed. Thank you Pit Bulls 4 Patriots for providing such a valuable service to our troops!
Great story on how someone who hasn’t served in the military but would like to support the troops by training some therapy dogs to help veterans who suffer from PTSD and other psychological issues.
It’s great to see major publications like TIME bring awareness to the powerful impact dogs can have in helping Veterans cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
What a Dog Can Do for PTSD
Posted by Mark Thompson-Time.com
When we did a story last year on what a boon dogs are becoming for troops coming home from the wars with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Luis Carlos Montalvan was one of the soldiers we interviewed. He served as an Army captain in Iraq, where he garnered the Combat Action Badge, two Bronze Stars, and the Purple Heart — as well as a case of PTSD. As often happens, our conversation ended up on the cutting room floor. But Montalvan gets the last word: he has just published Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him. Here’s a recent email exchange between Montalvan and Battleland:
Why did you write this book?
Until Tuesday was written because, after having been in the darkest depths of PTSD — where I wasn’t quite suicidal but often felt death would be a relief — I know how valuable information is. In those days, it was often internet-based stories and messages from other suffering veterans that helped me through. With Until Tuesday, I wanted other veterans to understand that their symptoms are real; their struggles are shared; and that there is help and hope—even if the VA is letting them down over and over again. I also wanted the family members of veterans better understand that their loved ones are dealing with. There are 18 suicides a day among veterans. I’d do anything to help prevent that tragedy. The book also, in the end, turned out to be very effective therapy for me—even though it was the most difficult and painful therapy I’ve ever endured.
How does Tuesday help with your daily life?
He helps me with daily physical tasks, like picking things up and balancing on stairs, but more importantly he is my constant companion. I was very prone to panic-attacks, agoraphobia, flashbacks, and “gray outs” where I would lose track of where I was or what I was doing.
Tuesday keeps me in the moment. He is trained to monitor my breathing and heart rate, so he can nudge me back to reality before a situation starts. I was also prone to hyper-vigilance; now, I can put my hand on Tuesday and feel calmness returning to me mind. That may not sound like much, but for the two years before I adopted Tuesday, I was too paranoid and withdrawn to leave my apartment. I lived like a hermit, cut off even from my family. Tuesday has helped me reconnect with the world.
How do dogs help vets with PTSD and other problems?
Many veterans have serious physical problems, and their service dogs help them function. My friend, Mary, for instance, had both arms blown off above the elbow by an IED; her dog Remy performs many of her daily tasks. But for all veterans, I think, the companionship and unwavering support mean the most. So many veterans are isolated and withdrawn when they return. A dog is a way to reconnect, without fear of judgment or misunderstanding.
Are dogs being used widely enough to help troops such as yourself? Why or why not?
I wish more trained dogs were being used to help veterans, because I know they save and transform lives. With so many suicides, not to mention divorces, alcohol problems, and wrecked lives, how can we say we are doing enough of anything for our veterans? Information about dogs like Tuesday is a big problem—one I hope the book helps correct—but money is another. It’s expensive to train a service dog, and dedicated people like Lu Picard at ECAD [Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities] (who trained Tuesday) need more resources and support.
I guess “Teddy” is a popular name for therapy dogs, yesterday I added a post about a service dog named Teddy helping veterans here in the states, today’s post is a photo of a therapy dog named Teddy helping troops overseas. It’s amazing how much value they bring just being around. Photo credit is Capt. Stephanie Vanneman, June 29th, 2011-Task Force 44 medical Brigade
So many wounded warriors have wounds that are visible but so many more have inner wounds like PTSD and TBI that are just as important to treat. Thanks to the organization, This Able Veteran, a new Veterans Affairs facility will have another tool to treat veterans and their battles with these issues. Teddy, a service dog that will be their new “therapist.”
By Carly O’Keefe-KFVS12
After experiencing the horrors of war, the newly constructed Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Facility will be a safe place for veterans.
It’ll be a one-of-a-kind program in the U.S. with a very unique member of the staff that doctors hope will help veterans reclaim their lives from PTSD and depression.
A dog named Teddy will be their guardian, their friend, and in a way – their therapist.