Although the war is over, for many the battle has just begun. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD, has become an increasingly important issue as the number of Veterans diagnosed has tripled in the past 8 years. Yet, it still seems to be one of the most under addressed issues facing our society.
We at Legion are trying to change this by raising more awareness and support for Veterans with PTSD. The Legion Service Dog program partners BC Veterans with BC dogs that are professionally trained with then to perform specific tasks and provide emotional support.
What are PTSD Service Dogs?
A dog specifically trained to perform tasks for the benefit of a client with clinically diagnosed PTSD. Here's how PTSD Service Dogs help:
- Tacticle stimulation to disrupt emotional overload
- Assisting Veteran to leave an area by finding an exit
- Waking Veteran from night terrors
- Rousing Veteran from fear paralysis or disassociation spell
- Preventing emotional overload
- Home sweeps upon return
- Alerting external help during a crisis
Veterans describe their dogs as non-judgemental, unconditional companions that provide an unwavering sense of support – that someone always has their back
The dogs can also be trained to also provide assistance for Veterans with reduced mobility (e.g. prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs) and other health conditions (e.g. seizure, high blood pressure).
The cost to train a dog with an individual Veteran is approximately $10,000. The benefits are priceless as the dogs provide essential life support to those who fought for Canada, and have now returned home with trauma.
All expenses for adoption, one-on-one training, vet checkups, and even dog food if required, are free of charge to the Veteran in need.