Wounded Warrior Service Dogs
At Ease Service Dogs
For a Wounded Warrior, the transition from combat back into society as we know it,
can be daunting. The hyper vigilance and hyper reactivity to situations, sensations,
sounds and smells that kept them alive in the war zone no longer have a place and
are generally considered unacceptable. By utilizing a trained dog, many of the fight
or flight reactions that return home with the veteran can be gradually modulated
and even, over time, extinguished.
TLCAD Service Dogs can aid veterans with many of the "triggers", or sensory stimuli
such as the smell of lube oil or the boom of fireworks on the 4th of July that prohibits
them from fully functioning in certain situations. The tools taught to each Wounded
Warrior to use with the dog to alleviate these arrests are variable and creative.
Often they are impromptu, inspired by the dog instincts for care and kinship.
Challenged by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI)
and/or mobility issues, the dog can be a calming influence, redirecting and helping
to mitigate the anger and impatience many veterans experience as they navigate life
in a world they thought they knew.
For a veteran who perceives many things as a potential threat, the dog generates
a significant amount of safety, both physically and emotionally. A sell-out baseball
game, a concert, a family reunion, can now not only be tolerated again, but enjoyed.
A dog who can switch the lights on at the bottom of a dark stairwell, refocus and
soothe a nightmare with a nuzzle, and literally, block the back of a vet standing
in a crowded line at the bank can help to restore a veteran's sense of self and
the qualities of leadership that were demanded of him or her.
The dog brings their Wounded Warrior the support that is needed to reduce their
fear and anxiety. In turn these benefits reduce the amount of medication that a
Wounded Warrior uses for anxiety, sleep and depression. This helps bring the feeling
of normalcy to the brink of reality.
Veterans know a lot about the benefits of a good buddy. What better buddy than a
dog, especially a working dog, that also knows the meaning and the rewards of dedication,
devotion and service.