Loving Veterans To Life

Service Dogs – “Gunnar Center”

11074511_873748696014903_7434469218905240663_nSERVICE DOG ADVOCACY AND RESOURCE CENTER COMING 2018!

About Service Dogs:

Dogs trained to do specific tasks for a person that he/she cannot do because of a disability. Service dogs can pick things up, guide a person with vision problems, or help someone who falls or loses balance easily.

For example, a service dog can alert a veteran to take anxiety medications that might otherwise be forgotten. 

Service Dogs are trained to:

  • Perform specific tasks to assist handler with their disability
  • Do things that the handler (dog owner) cannot do because of a disability
  • Learn to work with the handler in ways that help manage the owner’s disability
  • Service dogs for PTSD become ‘Life Battle Buddies’ allowing our veterans to regain their independence and can help reintegrate into society and social settings assisting with: social assistance,guiding through crowds, leading away from stress or trigger sources and much more.

Specially Trained PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) Service Dogs:

Like all assistance dogs, a psychiatric service dog is individually trained to do work or perform tasks that mitigate their handler’s disability. Training may include providing environmental assessment (in such cases as paranoia or hallucinations), signaling behaviors (such as interrupting repetitive or injurious behavior reminding the handler to take medication, retrieving objects and guiding the handler from stressful situations). PTSD Service Dogs can literally change the life of a Veteran or other persons with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD Service dogs can help a Veteran remain calm by preventing people from crowding around or rushing up behind in public places which will provide a comfortable space for the Veteran or PTSD sufferer.

PTSD Service Dogs can:

  • help adjust serotonin levels
  • help lower blood pressure
  • help with episodes of depression
  • provide companionship
  • calm their handler
  • preventing people from crowding around or rushing up on their handler
  • medication reminders
  • retrieve dropped items
  • wake from nightmares
  • assist with social interactions
  • clear rooms or houses
  • alert to strange noises preventing triggers
  • navigate through large crowds

 

Benefits of owner training:

  • Stronger bond between dog and handler as a team
  • Training serves as therapy to veteran
  • The service dog is becomes more sensitive to handlers needs
  • Shorter wait times for veterans in need of dogs. (Some veterans wait in excess of 2 years)
  • Peer support from group training classes
  • Sense of accomplishment as dog reaches each milestone
  • Only cost to veteran is that of owning a dog which is the responsibility of all handlers

Training a service dog is a full time job and for that reason organizations are limited in the number of dogs they are able to train to assist those in need. By collaborating with trainers who assist our veterans in small group training sessions more veterans will have faster access to dogs that will change their lives.

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**Some information was used from Department of Veterans Affairs and Canines 4 Hope***

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