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Service Dogs at the VA

Erica Brough/The Gainesville Sun

There are all kinds of service dogs.  Some work with law enforcement, assisting police officers in various ways.  Some work alongside our military personnel.  Others service dogs work with individuals in our communities, such as blind people and also those with other physical disabilities.  Now service dogs are being trained more and more to help another group of people in need, our veterans who are living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.

What A Service Dog Can Do

According to a recent study, it is estimated that over 20% of veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan struggle with PTSD.  In some sufferers, it can interfere with their everyday lives, making simple tasks like running errands, going to work and interacting with other people almost impossible.  Service dogs can help with these daily tasks as well as helping the veterans emotionally by calming the veterans down, easing anxiety, alleviating panic, helping to remind the veterans to take medications and more.  These dogs can be invaluable in giving veterans their lives back, as well as providing loyal companionship.

Where To Go For Information

The VA is launched a study in several VA centers across the country in January.  Studies will be done on the benefits of service dogs, what kind of training for the dogs benefits the veterans most, and what kinds of standards should be upheld.  Other charities involving service dogs for veterans already know the benefits and their years and successes in the field show for it.  Several groups help train and pair dogs with veterans, many help with the costs of caring for the service dogs as well.  Another group actually trains rescue dogs to serve veterans and doing so benefits the dogs as well as the veterans, everyone wins!  You can help these groups continue their good work by:

  • donating money to charities that provide dogs and training to keep them available
  • calling your elected officials to back the VA in their efforts and studies with service dogs
  • reaching out to community leaders to help raise money and awareness about service dogs and their roles

A pet sitting service can be of help to someone who depends on a service dog.  These dogs are special and need to be treated as such.  Pet sitters can come to your home to watch your dog if needs so that it does not need to be boarded.  Queen City Petsitting is grateful for the sacrifices our veterans have made and for their service to all of us.

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