Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veteran's Day- This Able Vet!

 My first thought today is to say “THANK YOU” to all the VETERAN’s for everything you have done so we can have the freedom to write blogs, to take long walks with our humans, to go to church, and all the many blessings we have because you have given of yourself for our country.  THANK YOU!!

I’ve got to share this with you, I was reading the news online a few weeks ago after my human had gone outside and came across an interesting article concerning the lack of funding for service dog programs which help our veterans with mental disabilities, especially Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder (PTSD), I’ll share the link to the article here, "VA Won't Cover Costs of Service Dogs Assigned for PTSD Treatment."  One of the reasons cited was there isn’t sufficient evidence that the program works the way intended. I contacted, the group mentioned in the article, for information and was sent this great brochure.

The mission of “This Able Veteran,” (TAV) started by group of civilians and veterans, is to support veterans with issues related to their service to our country by training service dogs to assist them. The Service Dogs are trained to interrupt the cycles of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and to support veterans with mobility issues. 
"Turning On the Lights"

The first thing they do is shape the skills needed in the dogs. For 9 months, an average of 100 hours per month, goes into training each of these dogs. The training includes typical Service Dog skills, but then they further tailor the dog’s skills to address the specific issues of the veteran they are to be paired with. After the extensive training for the dogs, the veterans and the dogs learn to recognize each other’s signals and to form a bond strong enough to carry the veteran through the challenges of recovery.

"Retrieving and Holding items
are part of the training"
Why are they doing this?  There are over 400,000 veterans who suffer from mental trauma. Everyday things we take for granted, such as going shopping, to a ballgame, to class, to dinner with family, or getting on a plane, are things they often cannot do. Just the simple act of driving can trigger flashbacks. These veterans dedicated themselves to our country and deserve no less than the care a specially trained Service Dog can provide. The right Service Dog, one custom selected and trained for each individual’s needs, can give these men and women a chance to truly come home.
The greatest rewards are the comments heard or received from the veterans who have graduated from the program:

Henry said “TAV has changed my life. The course, the people, and my dog Stella have helped me start sleeping again and to open up emotionally. This is one of the only effective types of therapy I have found, and I have hope for future progress.”

Jason said “I am living my life again. I have a wife who loves me, a daughter I can connect with, and a dog that makes it all possible. After all these years, I never would have imagined this could be said of me!”

Kevin said “Most people find me to be the picture of self confidence, while inside I boil over like a volcano. Having my Service Dog in my life is like a calming oasis in an otherwise anxiety ridden existence. There is a truth to life here with him I can’t find anywhere else.”

Howard, who is now driving again, going to the mall, and about to start school, says “Maverick has become such a part of me that I feel we communicate as one. I take care of his needs and he takes care of mine. This has made all the difference in my life.”  

How can you help? Plenty!  There are several options, so start here, donate (and volunteer), then go here, donate, to learn more!  Now, I found a really cool hoodie for my human, he loves those things and with Christmas coming, I may have to connive with Mom to get him one,  Hoodie.

"A Group From TAV"


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