Fortunately, we have “man’s best friend.” Many veterans find service dogs to be a huge
help in managing their PTSD symptoms. Service
dogs can be used in the traditional sense, but also can be trained to help with
mobility issues, as well as anxiety and psychological disabilities. Groups like Hearts of Gold, which is
based in West Virginia, and Alpha
Bravo Canine train service dogs specifically to help veterans with these issues
– at low or no cost to the veteran.
Unfortunately, the process to receive a service dog can be
lengthy. Once a veteran qualifies for a
service dog, they are then matched with a puppy and that puppy is trained to
meet the specific needs of their prospective owner. Training for service dogs generally lasts for
two years. Then, the dogs can be permanently placed with their owner. It is an incredibly involved process and will
require the veteran to participate in many training activities.
Furthermore, organizations that provide service dogs for
veterans usually work within a very specific geographical area due to the
hands-on nature of the training. It is
important for the veteran to be available to help with training and bond with
their new service dog. We encourage veterans to seek organizations closest to them
in order to ensure the best match and results to meet their needs.
Despite the long, and sometimes difficult, process, service
dogs have proven to be more than worth the wait. They can help with mobility and balance, as
well as mental health conditions.
Service dogs can be trained to prevent anyone from approaching their
owner too quickly or face the opposite direction from their owner to assure
someone is watching their back. If this
is something from which you feel you would benefit, we encourage you to seek
out an organization close to you and begin the application process. A service dog may just be the companion you
need to help overcome your struggles.
Hearts of Gold – Morgantown, WV
Alpha Bravo Canine – Philadelphia, PA
Dogs4Warriors – Bowerston, OH
Semper K9 – Quantico, VA