American Humane, which has worked with the military for 100 years, has released a guide to help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress (PTS) or traumatic brain injury (TBI) obtain service animals. The publication, whose creation was supported by the Schultz Family Foundation and the NCR Foundation, is called the“Wags4Patriots Guide to Getting a PTS Service Dog” and will be made available free of charge to veteran groups across the country. It can also be downloaded at www.americanhumane.org/wags4patriots.
The guide was developed by American Humane’s experts based on interviews with American Humane service dog grantees, their family members, service dog agencies, mental health providers, dog trainers and veterinarians. Information in this guide will help set expectations for the service dog procurement process, as well as the cost and expense of owning a PTS service dog during its lifetime. Importantly, the guide will detail how to identify a credible PTS service dog agency.
“Every day, 184 veterans are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress (PTS), which make it difficult for them to adjust to life back on the home front,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane’s president and CEO. “American Humane has long advocated that veterans suffering from the hidden wounds of war be provided with service dogs because we know these four-legged heroes can help save the lives of our human warriors after they return home from battle. Veterans with service dogs have reported improved sleep, decreased startle responses, and a decrease in the need for prescribed pain medication. The dogs help their handlers to live the lives they once did.”
For veterans struggling with PTS, the complex process of obtaining a service dog can be daunting. Having a guide to navigate the service dog procurement process is therefore invaluable and it can even shorten the time to secure a PTS dog.
“There’s no question that service dogs help veterans with post-traumatic stress or traumatic injuries,” said Elizabeth Willett, Sr. Program Officer, Onward Veterans. “Standardizing the process with this guide will help more of our returning military members get access to man’s (or woman’s) best friend.”