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A Salute to Service—Providing Ongoing Care for our VeteransBy: Kelli Rascoe
Each November, we take time to honor those who have served their countries in times of peace and conflict by reflecting on the sacrifices they have made. Often, our veterans return from service forever changed.
One important way to help provide long-term, rehabilitative care for a wide range of challenges, is to match a veteran with a service dog. Working animals are specially trained and once matched with the right person, the reciprocal bond is unique and transformational. Service dogs work side-by-side with their handler to provide the utmost level of assistance, support and companionship.
We would like to salute the incredible work and service of both parties. We all know the special place that an animal can have in our homes and hearts, but the work of a service dog is incomparable. They provide a service and safe place for veterans to recover, transition, and thrive within daily life.
In honor of Veterans Day and Remembrance Day—thank you to all those who have served!
Ongoing care for our veterans
The function and types of service dogs
A service dog is a working dog that is on-duty to assist the handler in day-to-day operations. There are different types of work that service dogs perform. According to the ADA, a service dog is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Because each service dog is trained for a specific job, there are various types of service dogs and they perform wide-ranging duties.
Types of service dogs
Guide dogs, hearing dogs, mobility dogs, medical alert, and medical response dogs are all trained to support the specific needs of their human companion. From helping their handler get around in public spaces, to monitoring symptoms for a medical occurrence, or getting medical help in the time of an emergency, or providing ongoing comfort, each working dog is equipped with the specific skills to aid their match. Service dogs have even been shown to be helpful to veterans in overcoming posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Supporting posttraumatic stress disorder
The support of a service dog has shown to be quite effective in assisting with the effects of PTSD. According to Psychology Today, survey results also showed that veterans with a service dog had less sleep disturbance, lower levels of anxiety and anger. Similarly, the use of a service dog lower levels of cortisol, reduce stress, provide comfort, and lower blood pressure.
Life transitions with a service dog
Transitioning back into a civilian lifestyle can be difficult for some veterans. Often, a service dog can provide a safe space for veterans to learn, grow and adapt. It has been shown the comfort and bond between veterans and service animals is irreplaceable. Similarly, working dogs have literally saved some veterans’ lives—especially those grappling on the cusp of alcohol/drug abuse—by providing better well-being and support for veterans.
Organizations and resources
There are quite a few organizations that can assist a veteran with additional services and potential service dog placement:
Working dogs become an integral part of their handler’s lives, and need care and attention. Dogs have a way of providing a sense of reciprocal love and enhancing a sense of responsibility for oneself and others. This can go a long way in providing comfort, care and connection.
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A WORD FROM TRUPANION
Welcome to the Trupanion blog. A place to celebrate pets, pet health and medical insurance for cats and dogs.
This blog is designed to be a community where pet owners can learn and share. The views expressed in each post are the opinion of the author and not necessarily endorsed by Trupanion. Always consult your veterinarian for professional advice.