How Dogs Can Help Combat Veterans
Some heroes have two legs, while others have four.
This is certainly true with dogs who have dedicated their lives in helping combat veterans in coping with the stress they acquired from spending time in war zones.
It is no secret that returning combat veterans have to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). According to statistics, about a third of both men and women who experienced war first hand suffers from flashbacks, difficulty of sleeping, nightmares, depression, guilt, fear, flashbacks, anxiety, and panic attacks.
Thankfully, an effective but relatively inexpensive technique has helped changed the lives of many veterans not for the worse, but for the better. This technique includes the use of dogs or service dogs as part of the healthcare and support system for veterans.
Here are some of the best ways of how having a pet dog could help combat veterans live a normal and happy life.
1. Dogs Keep You Moving
Veterans who are suffering from depression and anxiety tend to stay inside their homes. They sometimes would like to be alone and be distant from others.
However, having a pet dog would encourage veterans to be more active. Even the very action of going outside with your dog and get a glimpse of the sun can start boosting your mood. Not only that, but walking your dog leads to exercise, which helps the body to produce dopamine that fights depression.
To make things even more effective, dogs help you meet new people and make new friends. Bringing your dog in the park allows you to meet other pet owners. Since you and these people have one thing in common, it is easier to establish a connection and get in touch with them.
2. Dogs Help in Building Trust
Dogs are known to be man’s best friend. Among the chief reasons why is that they are loyal and a great companion. Veterans who are suffering from PTSD need someone who will always be there for them and dogs are just the perfect animal for the job.
3. Dogs Provide Joy
Aside from being loyal, dogs are a source of joy. Anyone who owns a dog could relate to how they can easily paint a smile on your face. Depending on the personality of your dog, they can be very comical, witty, and funny.
Moreover, dogs bring love and feelings of affection. The best thing about dogs is that they love their owners unconditionally. They don’t sow seeds of hatred or bitterness. No doubt; they are just the right companion for any combat veterans.
4. Dogs Make You Feel Protected
Dogs are protective animals. You might have heard of the news about dogs who have given up their lives just to save their master. For combat veterans, when they come home from war, they have a lot of fears and sources of anxiety.
Having a dog by your side gives you a feeling of assurance that someone has got your back. Especially if your pet is a bigger dog such as a German Shepherd or Labrador, veterans can have a higher sense of security. Dogs who are always on your side reminds you that you are not alone and you are safer even if you go to places you are not comfortable to be in.
5. Dogs Come With Various Benefits
There are a lot of therapeutic and personal benefits when you have a pet dog. Since there are too many to discuss, let me just give you a quick list:
- Reduce medical and psychiatric cost
- Reduce suicidal thoughts and depression
- Decrease the risk of alcoholism, violence, and drug use
- Decrease episodes of serious mental breakdowns
- Faster recovery and return to civilian life
Combat veterans do not have to deal with their PTSD or any condition alone. Dogs are there to help us and improve our lives in ways we have not imagined. If you or someone you know is a veteran who is fighting PTSD or related symptoms, don’t hesitate to get a pet dog. They would surely be a great way to help anyone live a more fulfilling life.
From our entire team here at PawRamp, we thank our Veterans for their hard work and wish everyone a Happy Veterans Day!