For many brave members of the armed forces, coming home as a civilian is only the beginning of another daunting battle. The invisible wounds of war, including Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury, can cause debilitating symptoms in veterans, leading to depression, social isolation and, far too often, suicide. Fortunately, service dogs can make a world of difference for veterans with trauma.
One U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Daniel, is kicking off the new year with a new service dog! Daniel bravely served our country from 2002 to 2007 and was deployed three times to Iraq. Since returning home, he has struggled with feelings of anxiety, and he reached out to American Humane for help.
Although research shows that specially trained PTS service dogs can reduce stress and anxiety levels, mitigate depression, ease social reintegration, provide comfort and restore confidence in affected veterans, there are many obstacles standing in the way of veterans in need of service dogs, including long waiting lists and exorbitant costs.
American Humane saw an opportunity to harness the healing power of the human-animal bond to help veterans. Through our Pups4Patriots™ program, we pair dogs in search of forever homes with veterans in need. The two are trained together at no cost to the veteran.
It is through this lifesaving program that Daniel came to find Ruby – his own saving grace. The two recently graduated and we are thrilled for them to begin their new life together as we kick off the new year.
Daniel noted the following:
Ruby has been a blessing to me and my family. Since she and I met, I felt a strong connection with her. I have been able to attend a few events that I otherwise never would have gone to. Just being able to reach down and touch her when I am feeling distant or anxious is very grounding and brings me back to the present. She will stand behind me in stores and lean against me when I am feeling anxious. Her calm presence is exactly what I needed in my life. She goes with me everywhere I go and our bond grows stronger by the day. Thank you, American Humane, for providing me with this amazing dog. She fits with my family excellently.