The Trauma Lines Blog

Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists

Lending a Helping Paw to Our Wounded Vets

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Leaving your house, sleeping through the night, finding and/or holding down a job…for most of us, that’s part of everyday life, the nuts and bolts of a healthy existence. But what about those who struggle with these simplest of tasks?

Many of “those” are our veterans who are returning home from war. “We return from war but our minds do not,” explained Marine Veteran Evan John.

Mr. John wrote those exact words when he was asked why a dog may be able to help him. But it wasn’t just any canine, it was a specially-trained service dog.

Late last year, Brigadoon Youth and Service Dog Programs added a service dog initiative, called “Canines and Heroes for Independance” (CHI), to help veterans who suffer from the wounds of war, both visible and invisible. So many of our returning vets are dealing with PTSD and TBIs that cause them high levels of anxiety, nightmares, stress and pain. According to Brigadoon, 86 percent of veterans with service dogs found that the animals helped to reduce their symptoms:

Dogs trained to deal with PTS and TBI are taught to prevent strangers from coming too close. By positioning themselves in front of their partners, they prevent people from getting into their personal space. Dogs are often trained to “watch”; this takes the place of the soldier having to watch his back; a common urge that many combat veterans share.

These dogs also provide reality checks for visual and auditory hallucinations. A veteran recently reported that while spending a quiet evening at home, he suddenly felt a strange person standing close to him. He looked down at his Service Dog who was asleep at his feet and realized that no one could possibly be there without the dog reacting.

Brigadoon’s goal in this first year of their program is to raise enough money to match 10 veterans/service members with a highly-trained service dog of their own at no cost to them. To do so, they need your financial help.

Be sure to visit to find out more about their programs as well as how you can help.


Written by traumalines

February 23, 2011 at 9:19 pm

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