Rescue dogs are being trained to help veterans cope with struggles such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, anxiety, and depression, a Yahoo News article reports.
Animal trainer Clarissa Black decided to train shelter dogs to help veterans after a trip to her local Veterans Affairs Hospital. The veterans’ positive response to her dog Bear inspired the idea for the nonprofit organization Pets for Vets.
“You could almost feel this weight being lifted off of them, that sort of sigh and that breath, and you could see their smiles,” said Black.
Pets for Vets has a two-fold mission: to help struggling veterans and to give shelter dogs another chance.
Navy veteran Casey said his dog Jazzy has greatly improved his life.
“Without Jazzy, before her, my life was pretty sketchy. But now, I’m pretty social. I’m not afraid of that many things anymore. The dog did it,” said Casey. “It makes me feel better about myself that I’m able to take care of her.”
The organization matches dogs with vets through a matchmaking process. The process includes interviews that evaluate which animal would be the best fit based on personality and lifestyle. Once selected, the dog is trained to help with its new owner’s conditions.
Pets for Vets has chapters across the country. To donate and learn more, please visit http://www.petsforvets.com.