A Veteren’s Best Friend

Far too many service men and women return home from war with lingering effects that make the challenges of every day life difficult to cope with. These brave individuals have answered their nation’s call and now man’s best friend is answering theirs.

Across the country, psychiatric service dogs providing companionship and relief for veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, with profound results. These dogs can sense when a person with PTSD is escalating and signal, making it possible of the person to manage and even prevent the escalation. According to a survey by the Congressionally Directed Medical Research program, 82% of patients with PTSD who were assigned a dog had decreased symptoms and 40% decreased their medication.

Dogs have helped soldiers on the battlefield as well. Dubbed the K9 Corp, they have served bravely alongside soldiers since World War I. One of the most famous war dogs was Chips, a German Sheppard mix, whose story was told in the 1993 Disney movie “Chips the War Dog.” The most decorated dog from WWII, Chips was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart after attacking a pillbox containing an enemy machine gun crew in Sicily. He seized one man and forced the entire crew to surrender.

Whether they are helping veterans or are veterans themselves, service dogs definitely deserve to be recognized this Veteran’s Day.

To find out more about psychiatric service dogs, visit www.psychdog.org/veterans.html or if you’d like to read about other war dogs like Chips, visit www.eagleid.com/veterans/dogs.htm

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