It’s estimated that 6.8% of the U.S. population will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. For veterans, that number increases to 12.9% of just the veteran population. With this increased number, it’s important for veterans, especially those with PTSD, to have methods for coping with their traumatic experiences. While there are many ways to aid veterans with PTSD, having a high-skilled service dog can help veterans with PTSD function and even flourish in daily life.
Benefits of Service Dogs for Veterans
Veteran trauma may present itself as anger, depression, angression, and general stress as well as physical limitations and disabilities. This expression of trauma is not only problematic for veterans, but it can affect their family environment, other relationships, and their work performance.
Service dogs can provide support in a multitude of ways.
These highly-skilled animals not only provide consistency and comfort, but they can offer physical aid through small tasks such as turning lights on and off, opening and closing doors or cabinets, and aid the visually impaired as well as giving assistance in public spaces.
Dogs can also provide emotional support. For some, dogs can help foster communication and assertiveness when veterans use commands for their dogs. These dogs may also support their veterans who experience nightmares or anxiety in public. In certain situations, these dogs may be able to provide a buffer between veterans and other people or circumstances.
Beyond these benefits and giving support, service dogs can help veterans return to a life that is mostly normal. They can function in society and in their workplace with confidence. Organizations like the National PTSD Service Association aim to help as many qualified veterans as possible through the aid of their highly trained dogs and staff.