Therapy Dogs for Vets

Helping veterans navigate through life with dignity and strength.

American war veterans return home from their heroic and sacrificial service to our country with a host of unique and severe problems potentially affecting them. Service dogs and therapy dogs for veterans and current military members have played a major role in helping get them back on their feet and living life to the fullest.

Veteran’s quality of life is many times diminished by mental and physical strain acquired during service in high-stress areas of the world and seeing active combat. They have faced unimaginable hardship and difficulty in daily life abroad.

As such, when servicemen and women return home from abroad, they have special needs and requirements that an average person typically doesn't experience. Some of those needs may involve psychological observation and assistance, with everything from therapists to medication. Servicemen and women are also at greater risk for mental issues, suicide, and a host of other physical and psychological problems.

therapy dogs
Murphy, Autumn, Hannah and Callie, Furry Angel therapy dogs, lay down for a photo during their trip to the clinic on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. Feb. 26, 2015. The Furry Angels are volunteer dog and handler teams that provide therapy to sick or injured people. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua D. King/ Released)

Therapy Dogs Bringing Hope for the Military Community

One form of psychological support that has been proven extremely popular and successful in the military community and for returning American war veterans is the use of therapy dogs. These highly trained dogs are being used on the home front in a way to care for veterans returning home from stressful situations.

Specifically in this case, therapy dogs provide for returning soldiers the structure, care, and love that these soldiers often so desperately crave. Therapy dogs can visit vets in the hospital to do some much needed cheering up and to give out some great puppy love. Some of the images of these dogs resting their heads on the laps of veterans is so touching it can bring tears to your eyes.

Training With Love

Therapy dogs are trained dogs that have been specifically tested for their temperament and situational awareness. Most of these dogs are required to pass the American Kennel Club CGC Tests, short for Canine Good Citizen tests. Following that certification, the Therapy Dogs International organization has a stringent test for dogs to pass to be certified as a therapy dog. Pet Partners also has training and evaluations for therapy dogs.

Therapy dogs are seen working in a variety of areas, from visiting sick and injured people in hospitals to spending time in nursing homes, to working with children who are undergoing traumatic experiences. In short, therapy dogs are trained and specifically used to make people in stressful situations feel more at ease.

therapy dog veterans

Therapy Dogs and You

Therapy dogs are also sometimes allowed into certain areas and under certain permissions that most un-trained dogs are not. They can be a permanent source of accompaniment for soldiers and returning war veterans in the right situation. But therapy dogs are more often used in multiple situations to help a variety of people in a variety of environments.

Because they are very well trained and highly intelligent animals, therapy dogs are proficient at doing the jobs they are designated to do. They catch on quickly, show great loyalty, and provide more than just companionship for those who need and deserve it the most.

Sometimes referred by psychologists or therapists, it is often critical to use a qualified, trained dog in therapy work with veterans. For veterans, therapy dogs work to provide ongoing psychological care that humans simply can’t duplicate.

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