Dave Stancliff VA Starts Study on Service Dogs for Servicemen and Women with PTSD blogarama.com

Saturday, August 4, 2012

VA Starts Study on Service Dogs for Servicemen and Women with PTSD

           Good Day Humboldt County!

 As someone who has PTSD, I’m glad to see the VA is getting serious about training dogs to help PTSD sufferers.

I firmly believe in the curative powers of animals, and dogs in particular. I’ve known for a long time how good my dog, Millie, makes me feel just petting and cuddling her.

There’s been this mystic relationships between man and dog/wolf for thousands of years dating back to prehistoric times. For whatever reasons, dogs like the company of humans. Sometimes I wonder why when I see how some are treated by their masters.

With the thousands of servicemen and women who currently have PTSD, programs like the following are sorely needed. Right now there’s little chance of meeting their needs with trained service dogs, but hopefully in the near future they can. There are many challenges ahead, as described in this article: 

There are also no widely accepted standards or best practices for training dogs to alleviate PTSD symptoms, a point of concern for many traditional service dog organizations, some of which have been in the industry for decades.

At the veterans' hospital in Tampa, a team of epidemiologists, mental health providers, veterinarians and other experts are conducting a study that will address some of these questions.

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There are neurobiological effects of interacting with an animal; research has shown that when focus is on petting and playing with a dog, it can increase oxytocin, a brain chemical that boosts trust and quiets the brain's fear response.

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Seventeen participants enrolled in the program over the past year, though Congress -- which recommended the study -- permitted the Department of Veterans Affairs to match as many as 200 with service dogs.

The study is the first of its kind at VA; the agency only just began providing benefits for service dogs to veterans with physical disabilities in 2001 and had previously done a handful of small studies looking at whether veterans benefits from mobility and hearing service dogs.” (Go here to read the full story)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

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