Just because a soldier has left a war zone doesn’t mean their stress and anxiety have left with them.
Our heroes often come home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in addition to all the other issues that impact daily life. One way of dealing with the emotional side effects of war is a service dog. These animals are trained to help people living with PTSD by providing constant companionship. Whether it’s by waking them from nightmares, soothing them, or alerting them to oncoming headaches, service animals are friends and medics.
However, a service dog can run at a steep price (sometimes as high as $20,000) because of the training required to make a dog ready for the task. For that reason, a hero of another kind has offered his free service dog training skills to vets in need.
Russ Dillon once trained dogs in the military to go into combat. Now he trains dogs for veterans post-combat. Dillon initially started helping the veterans as volunteer service, but then he discovered he could help much more by training the canine companions. He says this gig is much easier than what he used to have to train dogs to do.
Veteran Tim Locklear for example, this program has helped him transition away from many prescriptions that he said would sometimes make him feel worse with side effects. He asked his doctor to help find an alternative, and that’s when he discovered his service dog Boris is enough to get through the day.
Russ doesn’t want to slow down the great work he’s doing for monetary reasons, so he’s started a GoFundMe page that allows donors to sponsor a veteran and service dog team.
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[Featured Image: Dillon’s Dog Training]