I saw one of my neighbors with his dog the other day and he told me that he credits it with saving his life. My neighbor served in Iraq and suffers from PTSD. His therapy dog never leaves his side.
My sister-in-law, Crissy Mancini, trains service dogs in a program called TADSAW -- Train a Dog, Save a Warrior. She's committed to and very proud of that work. She's absolutely convinced of the lifesaving value of well-trained therapy dogs for vets and first responders with PTSD.
This article in the Washington Post quotes a vet, Adam Fuller, who also says his black lab mix, J.D., saved his life.
“Cover,” he tells J.D., who is sitting to his left in a grassy field. The dog calmly walks to Fuller’s right, then sits facing backward. Were someone coming up from behind, he’d wag his tail. The signal quells the sense of threat that plagued Fuller after serving in Afghanistan, that at one point had him futilely popping medications and veering toward suicide, the Post article says.
“Yes!” he praises J.D. as four women watch closely. They, too, are veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder who were there to be trained and to leave with canine support of their own. All seem to appreciate the strategy behind “cover.” as their goateed instructor demonstrates with J.D.
"I wouldn't be here without him," said Fuller.
The program featured in the Post article offers a new cycle of training each month with another class of veterans in a program run by the northern Florida K9s for Warriors . The seven-year-old nonprofit is one of dozens of private organizations that offer “psychiatric service” dogs to address the military’s mental health crisis — enabling desperate vets to function in society, proponents say.
It's similar to the TADSAW program that Crissy works with. These programs are worthy of our support.