It is estimated that more than half a million US war veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (source : RAND Corp and other studies)
- 22 Veterans of the US Military will take their own lives today.
- 22 families will lose loved ones today and every day due to combat-related stresses and injuries.
At a presentation at Global Pet Expo sponsored by K9 Advantix 11, we had the privilege of talking with Brett Simon, the Director of K9 Operations for K9s for Warriors about his own battle with PTSD and what he is doing to change these statistics.
Brett served in Iraq as a dog handler for the Department of Defence. Upon his return, he and his family noticed symptoms of severe PTSD. Together, they fused their love for dogs and helping veterans to start K9s for Warriors.
Battle PTSD, Trauma and Brain Injury
The non-profit group helps veterans with PTSD, sexual trauma and/or traumatic brain injury as a result of military service return to regular life using trained rescue or shelter dogs. Their goal is to give a new leash on life to rescue dogs and military heroes alike, helping empower them to live with dignity and independence. See their YouTube Channel for more wonderful success stories.
To date they have placed over 159 dogs and counting with military members. As we learned filming our documentary series on Dogs Making a Difference, the presence of dogs has been shown to reduce symptoms of PTSD such as high blood pressure, anxiety and stress.
The program matches dogs to veterans based on their individual needs such as space control, where the dog learns to create a barrier between the veteran and others, and specially trained dogs for those with more physical or mobility limitations. The dogs not only provide love and companionship for the vets, but also gives them a sense of purpose, responsibility and routine.
These service animals change lives.
“These service animals change lives. He gives me the confidence to know that I’m not alone anymore” says Joe Swoboda, Sergeant First Class U.S Army (Ret.) who served three times in Iraq.
Joe was diagnosed with PTSD and traumatic brain injury as a result of his service in the army. Upon returning home, Joe felt he was at his lowest point and could no longer fit into society, and even considered taking his own life. That’s when he found K9s for Warriors and got a second chance. Since being matched with a service dog, Joe feels eager to return to normal life and that the symptoms of PTSD are helped by the presence of his dog. He now advocates at events like Global Pet Expo, which might have been an impossible challenge prior to working with K9s for Warriors.
Visit their website to see what you can do to join us in supporting Stop 22 and K9’s for Warriors.
Making this video and writing this post reminded me how much I am looking forward to the BlogPaws conference in a few weeks. I arrived at my first Global Pet Expo and did not really know anyone well. Some lovely friends from this Hop and BlogPaws made a space and welcomed me to their table at this press lunch. They made me feel as though I belonged. Thanks Pepper Pom, Sugar The Golden Retriever, Life with Beagle, Oz the Terrier, Two Little Cavaliers and Beagles and Bargains.
Don’t forget to ENTER OUR NEW CONTEST : show us a loving photo of your dog for a chance to win $50 and be featured in our Mother’s Day video.
Happy Earth Day! Find out a few simple ways you can go green on our Earth Day Post here.
Jessica Claudio, DVM says
Wow, thank you for raising awareness to these important campaigns. Also, thank you for all the links along with this important article.
Talent Hounds says
Thanks Jessica. It’s a really amazing initiative they are doing, we just wanted to share that and help them gain awareness.
Thank you for this post! Our veterans are always overlooked. Looking forward to seeing you at Blog Paws!
Talent Hounds says
You as well! Sadly they often are, just like rescue dogs that’s why this is such a great cause.
Athena and Marie says
Wonderful post. Thanks for raising awareness.
Athena and Marie
What a wonderful service! PTSD is so misunderstood and there is no where near enough treatment being given to our troops. I love that these dogs are helping our veterans. Pets are sometimes the best medicine that a person can receive.
Groovy Goldendoodles says
We can never share enough about these heroes. Thank you so much. I didn’t know about the contest, I will submit Jax (his first one!)
Thank you for calling attention to these issues. We should be doing all we can to ease the lives of our veterans.
This is so amazing. Dogs are such healers and our vets need that most!
Jackie Bouchard says
Oh, the healing power of dogs is so amazing. What a great cause.
Piranha Banana says
Great Topic to cover – thank you for this!
I’m so glad to see people suffering from PTSD getting help from animals. But in truth, I’d much rather our country stopped waging war and putting people in harm’s way. Then maybe more dogs could just be our friends again.
Tenacious Little Terrier says
Dogs are such amazing companions!
What a great organisation and so very worthwhile.