Service Dogs for Vets
Veterans of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard return home from their heroic service after going through unimaginable stress overseas. Many return with mental and physical issues ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder to other injuries and wounds, both physical and mental. Service dogs for vets have brought new hope to these brave men and women.
Those who volunteer to fight in foreign wars take on unbelievable responsibility and stress. The burden on our servicemen and women is great, and their return home should see them treated as heroes.
Unfortunately, life does not immediately get better for veterans just because they return home. They often continue to face hardships, sometimes related to their military service and sometimes new–financial, emotional, and more. Just returning to America doesn’t necessarily make a soldier’s life easier.
However, there are things that make it better. Service dogs, for one, provide trained therapy, care, and compassion to veterans and give these soldiers something tangible and meaningful to call friend.
Service Dogs for Vets bring Hope and Love
Thousands of American soldiers return to their homes with unbelievable stories, scars, and disabilities from their service during wartime. Many of them, on their own, are unable to cope with challenges and problems during everyday life, having been gone from civilian life for so long.
Luckily though, hope abounds. Increasingly, veterans are being given specially trained service dogs to help them cope in myriad ways, and really, to help provide for veterans some stability and love.
These service dogs work tirelessly for their new best friends to give them a fulfilling, meaningful and loving companion to get through tough times in life.
After serving their countries selflessly and completely, veterans return to their homes to find new, lifelong companions in these service dogs. And these dogs are prepared to serve just as selflessly and completely for their new masters.
Highly Trained Buddies for Helping Veterans
Some of these service dogs are specially trained to accompany veterans with certain conditions. Say, for example, dogs who are trained to lead the blind and serve as guide dogs for veterans who return with sight injuries and issues. These dogs come highly trained, very intelligent, and extremely loyal.
Trained service dogs are matched to veterans based on the needs of the soldier, the skills of the dog, availability, and companionship, and more. Often times, these dogs provide a lifeline for soldiers, making themselves extremely useful by helping and aiding veterans take care of daily tasks and improve their quality of life.
What can a Service Dog do for Veterans?
The possibilities of what a service dog for vets can do are almost endless. They have been trained to do all kinds of unusual tasks. Some of these tasks include:
- Helping to pull clothes on and off
- Helping roll over in bed or while lying down
- Opening and closing drawers, cabinets, and doors
- Turning light switches on and off
- Picking up and retrieving objects that have been dropped
- Helping someone who has fallen stand up by being a brace to lean against
- Retrieving items by name, like a phone, shoes, remote control, etc.
- Getting food, drinks, or medicine from a refrigerator
- Guiding and providing balance when climbing stairs or walking
Best Friends Forever
Other dogs for veterans provide more emotional support. It can be as simple as being a good buddy to their new master. For some of these veterans, these dogs represent the first non-aggressive, non-stressful companion they’ve had in months or years. As such, these dogs are very important in providing mental and emotional stability for soldiers going through difficult transitions.
Service dogs provide veterans with stability, consistency, and love. After coming back from war zones and stressful situations, these soldiers are confronted not with an enemy, but a new best friend. And these best friends are truly loyal until the end.
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Staff Sgt. Mark Johnson and service dog Bailey wait for the start of the cycling competition during the 2014 Wounded Warrior Air Force Trials at Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, Nevada (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen).