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Service Dogs and Veterans: How Soldiers are Being Supported by Man’s Best Friend

By July 16, 2020November 5th, 2020Pet Behavior

There is a special bond between service dogs and veterans, and it is true that a dog is truly man’s best friend. When it comes to veterans and dogs, the therapeutic applications have proven an effective tool for helping veterans struggling with a variety of conditions and disabilities. From physical impairments to mental health conditions, the comfort of a pet, especially a dog, can provide great relief and life fulfillment unmatched by modern medicine.

Here are a few of the ways that Service dogs are helping- and healing- American veterans:

PTSD Service Dogs

If you live with post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, a service dog can be trained to help reduce symptoms as well as assist the owner cope with symptoms. These dogs may comfort during periods of anxiety, or access help if needed. If you live with PTSD and are a veteran, these dogs may be provided to you through the Veterans’ Administration office in your region; look online for contact information.

Service Dogs

The definition of a service dog is broad, but usually it is a dog that has been trained to assist their owner or handler with activities of daily living. Service dogs are not usually best suited to those veterans or owners that are blind; guide dogs are trained to work with the visually impaired. A service dog can follow commands, maintain control, and assist their owner as needed, daily.

Guide Dogs

A guide dog does just that: guide the owner or handler through obstacles, safely, along their path. These supportive pets help their owner gain autonomy and independence. Individuals with physical or visual impairments may benefit the most from a trained guide dog.

Facility Dogs

Think of facility dogs as therapy dogs that work with veterans. Typically, you will find facility dogs in hospitals, nursing homes, and residential communities working with groups and providing one-on-one time with those living there.

Seizure Response Dogs

Did you know that dogs can be trained to predict seizures in their owners or handlers? Seizure response dogs assist by attracting attention and getting help if their human has a seizure. Some dogs may be trained to bring medication during seizure activity.

Animal Assisted Therapy

Many social workers and clinicians widely recommend pets as a way for their clients to combat loneliness and increase socialization, including among veterans. Pets provide a sense of purpose and reason to engage with others that is healthy and beneficial for veterans, seniors, and other demographics. 

Service dogs are more than a resource, but a lifelong companion in many instances. Need emergency veterinary care? Come to the veterinary team at CVETS,  a brand new, state of the art Emergency Vet and Surgery center in Columbia, SC.  Call to schedule an appointment today.