Veteran receives free service dog to assist with recovery from trauma

By | August 30, 2018 9:51 am

Chris Taylor, U.S. Army veteran, is shown with his service dog, Peggy Sue, that he received through K9s for Warriors.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a real thing. It is a result of someone having been exposed to an injury or severe psychological shock and incurring persistent mental and emotional stress.

Because of so many troops coming back from war in the Middle East, as well as veterans who have fought in other wars, K9s for Warriors was created.

K9s for Warriors serves veterans who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and/or military sexual trauma, with service dogs that are specially trained to help these types of cases. These service dogs are referred to as “prescription on four legs” or “battle buddies,” and veterans are taught to utilize them to mitigate the symptoms associated with military-related disabilities.

A White County U.S. Army veteran was just awarded one of these animals. He recently returned from a specialized training course, in Florida, where he met and trained with his service dog, Peggy Sue.

“Since getting my service dog, I have noticed myself becoming more calm,” said Chris Taylor, K9s for Warriors graduate. “I have more confidence and am learning to live again.”

Before being able to return home, Taylor and Peggy Sue had to acquire 120 hours of specialized training and certification as a service dog team. Peggy Sue is now certified to assist Taylor with his daily tasks and help to alleviate his PTSD.

K9s for Warriors operates in a facility located in Ponte Vedra, Florida. It has the capacity to pair 144 warrior-dog teams per year. The non-profit has been successful in the recovery of hundreds of disabled veterans as well as helping to prevent veteran suicides.

“The empirical evidence of the efficacy of the service dogs in treating the symptoms of PTSD is clear and overwhelming,” stated Rory Diamond, CEO, K9s for Warriors. “Veteran suicide is an epidemic, so the time for action is now. We need the support of lawmakers and our communities to help our heroes heal.”

Cases like Taylor’s help motivate Diamond to lobby before Congress to gain support of the PAWS Act, which is a bill to direct the secretary of Veterans Affairs to make grants to eligible organizations to provide service dogs to veterans with severe PTSD and for other purposes. He has also facilitated a research project in collaboration with Purdue University to provide evidence that service dogs are an important part of the PTSD treatment.

For any questions about K9s for Warriors or for anyone interested in obtaining a service dog for any of the aforementioned conditions, contact K9s for Warriors at (904) 686-1956. They can also be contacted through their website at www.k9sforwarriors.org.

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