The Weight of PTSD
I have PTSD. The nightmares, flashbacks and the feeling in the pit of my stomach makes the trips down memory lane unbearable. Sometimes it feels like it is starting all over again. I can only image the pain and suffering a war veteran would feel. The pain must be crushing.
Service Dogs Loyalty
The love and loyalty given by a service dog to his master is second to none. Knowing what information I know about PTSD from my own experiences and the friendship with my own two dogs, Jake and Sam, I find a dog very comforting, supportive and loving when you are experiencing mental stress. Also, service dogs are often used to help people with mobility issues, hearing and visual impairments as well as physical difficulties.
With service dogs, you have a four-legged therapist with you 24/7. Petting the dog and grooming him or her, taking a walk with your service dog and having the service dog next to you in a crowded store can soothe your nerves and help you pull it back together.
There is research on the effectiveness a service dog has on people with PTSD. The evidence shows that a service dog can help the veteran ease back into civilian life and help create a calming atmosphere when in a stressful or hostile environment.
On the flip side of the coin, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has a policy in place where it does not make funding available for former military personnel with PTSD to own service dogs. They believe that not enough research has yet been conducted to justify such a program. However, the agency helps veterans keep service dogs if they have visual, hearing or mobility problems, but not for PTSD.
What do you think? Do you think the VA should fund the service dog program for veterans with PTSD? Do you have a mental illness or disability and have your own service dog? Tell us about it.