Dogs Save Heroes One At A Time

 |  Sep 11th 2009  |   6 Contributions


caninevetSince this is a dog blog, a couple of times a month our boy Bo (woof!) thought it would be nice to get the news through a dogs eyes.

Bo invites everyone to read a chapter from his upcoming book BAD TO THE BONE due out late September. Its a funny memoir about the crazy adventures we have shared together over the last 14 plus years, told through Bos eyes.

Okay Bo, take it from here....

I recently read a survey that most dogs dont like vets. I was shocked to hear those results.

I mean, whats not to like? The camouflage? The ability to relieve themselves on a battlefield? It certainly cant be the yummy c-rations.

Then I realized the survey was talking about veterinarians, not veterans. That made me feel better.

Well, since Ive stumbled upon the subject, let me just send a quick thank you for all the members of the armed forces. Without their sacrifice, the freedoms we enjoy in this country would most assuredly be replaced by the chains of totalitarianism.

I know that all dogs know this and are eager to provide support. Check out the study the Dept of Defense has on tap to figure out just how great of animals we are, courtesy of the Kansas City Star.

Can a canine companion soothe the volatile emotions of a soldier haunted by post-traumatic stress disorder?

It may sound far-fetched, but the Department of Defense wants to find out.

It is spending millions of dollars on medical research projects like this that may yield groundbreaking results but are too speculative for other government agencies to consider.

So the Defense Department is financing a $300,000 study that will pair troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with dogs trained to sense when their masters are about to have a panic attack and give them a calming nudge or nuzzle.

These psychiatric service dogs have been assisting people with a variety of mental illnesses since the late 1990s. About 10,000 such dogs are now in use.

Absolutely beautiful animals. Very well behaved, said Chris Kornkven, a Persian Gulf War veteran from Helenville, Wis., who stopped to pet the dogs.

They seemed like they would be really helpful, particularly for individuals living alone, said Kornkven, who has PTSD. I think (a service dog) would give them some independence.

The dogs can serve their owners in several ways. For example, they can sense when someone with bipolar disorder is becoming manic and give an alert by barking or nuzzling. The dogs also can provide a reality check to people experiencing hallucinations; if the dog does not react to voices, it is assurance that no one else is in the room.

I know Ive helped my old man through his hallucinations. He still thinks that hes writing this blog. Sorry pal, these words were formed in the mind of mans best friend, and delivered through his paws.

Humans, theyre so self-absorbed.

Photo courtesy of GARVEY SCOTT/The Kansas City Star

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