Friday, August 26, 2011

Healing Through Helping: Veterans Provide Training for Shelter Dogs

I’m so proud of being a MUTT and I’m especially proud of the Mutt in this story because he found someone who needed him as much as he needed that someone. Sometimes the best healing power comes through helping someone else.

Just ask a Mutt named Legs and a Navy veteran named John Picray, participants in the Veterans & Shelter Dogs program, which is part of a study at the Research Center for Human/Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
More than a hundred dogs have already gone through the training, which aims to make the shelter dogs more adoptable while at the same time benefiting the trainers.

“When people come back from the military, they are changed,” said Rebecca Johnson, the MU professor and lead researcher of the veterans/shelter dog project. “Many of them come home with some degree of post-traumatic stress,” she said. “Working with the dogs is relaxing and rewarding.”

The vets and the dogs are monitored to see how their relationship affects them, and adoption rates will be compared with shelter dogs who don’t receive the training. Dogs that show exceptional train-ability in the program may also be candidates to become permanent companions for veterans with debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder.

For more about the dogs and veterans involved in this program, and how service dogs can help vets suffering from PTSD, here’s the full story from KC Pets.

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