Charlie is the name of a dog that has played an important role in helping out a veteran named Chuck G. In short, Chuck was a member of the Marine Corp from 1967 to 1971. When he returned home, he had suffered damage to his spine as well as damage to his eyesight. However, it wasn’t until years and years later that Chuck found out that he had PTSD, which is something that has happened to more than one veteran. As a result, his therapist pointed him towards Pets for Vets, which is a program that exists for the purpose of helping veterans find suitable companion animals for themselves. In Chuck’s case, he ended up with Charlie, who was experiencing his own problems at the time because he had spent three years at an animal shelter before the two met one another.
Since that time, Charlie has done much to help Chuck out with his problems. For example, the two head out to the local park each morning, where Chuck has become much more sociable because of Charlie’s friendliness towards other dogs as well as other dog owners. Likewise, Charlie sleeps next to Chuck at night, thus making it that much easier for him to get through bad nights. On the whole, Charlie has been a huge help to Chuck, which is a wonderful example of how man’s best friend remains so in spite of the changes that have occurred over the course of centuries.
How Do Dogs Help Veterans?
It is interesting to note that Chuck is far from being the sole veteran with PTSD to have been helped out by their dogs. This is the reason that there is more than one program that exists for the purpose of providing veterans with trained canine companions, which provide a very important service.
For those who are curious, PTSD is a serious problem. It isn’t something that happens to 100 percent of the people who experience combat. In fact, it isn’t even something that happens to most of the people who experience combat, seeing as how the estimated figure is something between 5 percent and 20 percent. However, for people who are unfortunate enough to get PTSD, the consequences can be serious. In part, this is because PTSD makes it difficult for the sufferers to rest and relax, which has a very notable impact on their quality of life. However, this can cause their relationships with other people to deteriorate as well. Something that has been known to result in the break-up of families.
Dogs can help in various ways. For example, dogs can convince even the most isolated personalities to come out of their shells with sufficient exposure. Furthermore, interacting with dogs can help people with PTSD to improve their communication skills, to behave in an assertive but not aggressive manner, and otherwise become more capable when it comes to social interaction. On top of this, it is interesting to note that some people suffering from PTSD have been known to sleep easier because they know that they have a naturally alert animal watching out for them, thus providing them with a much-needed sense of safety.
Currently, scientists are still studying the impact of dogs on dog owners who are suffering from PTSD. However, there is growing evidence that they experience biological changes such as higher levels of the hormone oxytocin, which makes them likelier to trust other people, more capable of reading facial expressions, and become more pro-social in nature. Moreover, there are studies suggesting that PTSD patients with dogs do better in both a psychological and a physiological sense when compared to PTSD patients without dogs, which is something that says much about the value of a canine companion.
Summed up, it is clear that PTSD is a problem that can be helped to a serious extent through the use of dogs, which is great for both the dogs and the dog owners. There is still a lot more investigation that needs to be carried out into the exact effects of canine companion on people suffering from PTSD, but what has been revealed so far is very encouraging. As a result, people who want to support veterans might want to consider looking into organizations such as K9s for Warriors and Pets for Vets that are deserving of assistance.