Dogs are considered to be the best companions. They give unconditional love to their owners. Researches have shown that owning a dog can greatly improve one’s overall health. It can even lengthen the life of humans. Owning a dog or a pet will lower the stress levels. Psychologists have also established that dogs help lower blood pressure and cholesterol which then reduces the chances of stroke.
Dogs are, without doubt, one of the smartest and most affectionate creatures on earth. Now that science is backing up the health benefits of these animals, it is only natural that some hospitals and health care providers are using dogs for therapeutic purposes.
Dogs for Recovering Veterans
Soldiers are tough men and women who risk their lives for the welfare of their fellowmen. They go into battles and wars with one foot in the grave. This experience creates stress and traumatic experiences as much as it inflicts physical pain. There are two types of trained dogs that provide help to veteran patients. These are Therapy Dogs and Service Dogs.
Difference Between Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs
Many people assume service dogs are the same with therapy dogs. However, they are completely different from one another. Service dogs are also known as guide dogs. They assist the disabled, blind, deaf or those with mobility problems. They are trained to give assistance to veterans and other individuals with disabilities. The law allows these dogs to accompany their handler in all public and private establishments and transportations.
Therapy dogs, on the other hand, are not allowed in all places as much as service dogs are. They are trained for the sole purpose of providing therapy to patients in hospitals and nursing homes. They can also be seen in schools to aid in students’ specific tasks.
Therapy dogs are not bought or born. They are mostly family dogs who undergo meticulous training to make them appropriate for visiting health facilities. Their presence alone can inspire veteran patients who are missing their own pets or are in need of an empathetic and caring creature.
These dogs are also trained to sense anxiety and stress. They respond with cuddles and licks to make the sick patient feel ultimately better. They also provide a distraction from post-traumatic stress disorder. A veteran soldier with trauma may sometimes be triggered by sounds from the surrounding like a helicopter in flight. Being around dogs can veer them away from the day to day stress and help them move on.