Service Dogs for PTSD

Service dogs can be helpful partners for those suffering with symptoms of PTSD or TBI (traumatic brain injury). The relationship you form with a therapy dog is an important step in your healing process.
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How do Service Dogs Help with PTSD?

The dogs that we assign at Warriors Heart are specifically trained to become service dogs. They have been conditioned to sense and adapt to their handler’s needs. As they learn the individual personality of their partner Warrior in our program, they become better at providing much-needed support during the recovery process.

Here are some ways service dogs provide support:

  • Sensing oncoming episodes of PTSD. All humans give off nearly imperceptible signals when they experience stress. Service dogs can actually track the breathing and heart rate of their handlers and respond when those levels shift outside the norm.
  • Reorient and “ground” the handler to a safe environment when struggling with PTSD episodes. Sometimes, all a PTSD victim needs is a presence to guide them back to reality. Service dogs can intervene and refocus their handlers in times of stress.
  • Remind the handler to perform her or his daily routines
  • Reduce fear associated with meeting new people
  • Assist handler in creating a safe personal space
  • Serve as a buffer to calm handler and reduce feelings of emotional distress in crowded places

How Our K9 Partnership Program Works

During the Warriors Heart peer-to-peer healing program, Warriors can partner with a PTSD service dog, rescued by Operation Overwatch. Together with a therapist, the Warrior will participate in an assisted therapy session with their K9 therapy companion.

Warriors will get the opportunity to work with the service dogs while in treatment, which creates powerful results for both the dog and Warrior.

If a Warrior has really connected with any specific PTSD service dog, the Warrior is given the option to take this buddy home at the end of treatment. During the long-term recovery process at home, a therapy dog (who is now a fully fledged partner) can provide a great amount of moral support.

Partnership with Operation Overwatch

Operation Overwatch is a non-profit organization that rescues dogs from shelters across the country and trains them to be of service to veterans and first responders suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and/or Traumatic Brain Injury.

As of this spring, Operation Overwatch started working with Warriors Heart to provide Warriors with service dogs. The results have been immense. Warriors and service dogs have both been able to enjoy the benefits of a balanced and reduced-stress lifestyle after entering into this partnership.

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Seek the Peace You Deserve

If you’re struggling with PTSD, substance abuse, or addiction, you don’t have to go at it alone. We’re here to help. Contact us online, or call us 24/7 at 844-448-2567.