Dogs In The Life of Veterans

Throughout the ages, we have seen and heard the anecdotes about how faithful, loyal and kind dogs are and these qualities make them a person’s best friends.

There is no doubt about the fact that dogs have assisted and aided humans in one way of the other.

Dogs, either emotional support dogs, service dogs, military dogs or mere pets, have a delightful presence which makes their surroundings happy and healthy.

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Likewise, the connection between dog and military veterans (people who have served long for the military services and have directly served in wars) is unmatchable due to the rare bond of affection and positivity that they share.

Dogs in the life of veterans are more like a companion that helps them heal emotionally and make their life joyful.

Here is how a dog’s presence in the life of veterans is transforming them for good.

1 of 4. Service Dogs in the Life of Veterans

First of all, you must know that service dogs are different than the emotional support animals.

Just like soldiers and military men, service dogs are highly trained, and they support and help disabled people with their daily tasks.

1.1. Benefits of Service Dogs for Veterans

They give their owner a sense of independence and safety.

Service dogs are trained to handle situations under pressure and to keep their focus on the veteran they are partnered with.

They keep an eye on their partner in public places and help them out if they have any physical disability and are unable to do their tasks adequately.

1.2. Can Dogs Improve Activity and Quality of Life in Veterans?

Service dogs have a great impact on improving the lives of veterans.

They are like a companion to them who offer unconditional love and support to them.

Due to their specialized titles, i.e. service dogs, they are allowed to accompany their partner veteran to supermarkets, parks, restaurants, and other public entertainment places.

Service dogs make a veteran feel safe and protected either at home or outside.

They use their body weight to help eliminate the symptoms of anxiety and stress, which calms down their partner if they are panicking.

1.3. Can You Have a Service Dog in The Army?

Earlier service dogs were allowed on an army basis but now the U.S army has restricted the criteria of getting one.

Service dogs are often assigned to physically disabled soldiers who are nearing a medical retirement.

A soldier’s eligibility to get a service dog is approved by a healthcare professional’s panel.

1.4. A Few Stories About How Dogs Save The Lives of Veterans.

You can find several stories shared by veterans in various newspapers, narrating how service dogs have positively transformed their lives and have proved to be a ray of sunshine.

The bravest service dogs have been the best part of many biographies written by veterans.

For instance, the reader’s digest published some stories that were about the dogs who saved the lives of their veteran partners while risking theirs.

Veteran Ryan and His Dog Yogi.

One of the most touching ones was about a veteran Ryan and his service dog Yogi.

Ryan, after returning from Afghanistan was having disturbing flashbacks and nightmares.

While Yogi kept nudging him to escape those deadly thoughts.

However, one day Ryan picked up a knife to harm himself when Yogi jumped to the rescue and kept biting his arm until he dropped the knife.

History is filled with such stories of constant commitment and love that makes the dog even more loveable and precious to us.

2 of 4. Emotional Support Dog

Emotional support animals are markedly different from the service dogs.

They are not trained to work for their owners rather they are there to help them heal emotionally.

They are also often termed as therapy dogs as well.

The main aim of having an emotional support dog is to aid with emotional and mental health-related issues.

2.1. How Can a Veteran Get an Emotional Support Dog?

To get an emotional support dog, you need a prescription and legal documents from your doctor who has allowed you to have an emotional support dog.

2.2. Can You Have an Emotional Support Dog in The Military?

If it allowed you to have it during your military service depends upon the severity of your mental health issue and your doctor’s suggestion.

2.3. Are Service Dogs Free for Veterans?

Emotional support animals are not free to get.

Many of the services providers require you to pay some fee to get one.

Emotional support animals are worth having for the veterans who are in dire need of unconditional companionship and love because your dog cares for you!

3 of 4. Dogs for Veterans with PTSD

PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder is used for the mental conditions where a person remains in a state of trauma that remains constant due to flashbacks and nightmares from the dreadful past.

This is very common among retired military men, particularly those who have been part of a war.

They are constantly haunted by the fearful scenes that they have witnessed during a war.

This is can be fatal if the person is not cured timely.

Emotional support dogs or service dogs can be a great help for veterans with PTSD.

3.1. What Does a PTSD Dog Do?

  • Emotional support animals or service dogs help in reducing the symptoms of PTSD. ESAs are usually preferred by doctors to doctors because they can provide comfort to their owners just as their pet does.
  • They become an integral part of their lives and veterans can count on them for emotional support whenever they need it. While service dogs are trained to work for physically disabled veterans while being a supportive companion for them simultaneously.
  • Service dogs are trained to interrupt their veteran partner’s thoughts by licking, pawing or nudging them. Moreover, they can turn on light or close curtains in case you are having nightmares or panicking due to the darkness or terrible flashbacks.
  • They remind their partner to take medicines, working out, going for a walk on time too.

3.2. How Does a Veteran With PTSD Get a Service Dog?

Veterans can get their service dog by applying, as per their doctor’s prescription to the Department of Veterans Affairs and have to pay some fee once their application is approved.

3.3. What Breed of Dog is Best for PTSD?

Service dogs come in all sizes, colors, and different breeds.

However, the best breeds for PTSD include:

  • Golden or Labrador retriever,
  • Standard Poodle,
  • Boxer,
  • Lhasa Apso,
  • Doberman Pinscher,
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

3.4. How Many Veterans Have PTSD?

PTSD is very common among military men specifically those who have experienced traumatic war situations in real and service dogs can aid in recovery from it to a greater extent.

4 of 4. Conclusion

Be it an emotional support dog or a service dog, they play a vital role in helping veterans to recover emotionally after having a lifetime of traumatic and disturbing experiences.

Dogs are surely life saviors for those who have safeguarded their nations and their countries!