Service Dogs for PTSD and Substance Abuse Recovery

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

group of working service dogs lined up

How do Service Dogs Help with Recovery From PTSD Or Addiction?

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:

  • Sense 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 The Warriors Heart Service Dog Program Works

As part of the healing program, warriors are allowed to partner with a service dog during treatment for chemical dependency and PTSD. Together with a therapist, the warrior will participate in an assisted therapy session with their service dog companion. This in turn creates powerful results for the service dog and provides an ally in the battle against addiction.

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.

If a warrior has connected with a service dog upon completion of their addiction and PTSD treatment, they’re given the option to take their battle buddy home at the end of treatment. During the long-term recovery process at home, a therapy dog can provide a great amount of morale.

Where Are Our Service Dogs From?

All dogs are rescued from local shelters. We typically rescue from shelters that have high euthanasia rates.

Where Do The Dogs Stay?

The service dogs are kept in our state of the art kennels, which will be expanding later this year in order to provide the best care for the canines, and of course to be able to rescue more!

Does Every Warrior Get A Chance To Work With The Service Dogs?

Every warrior works with the service dogs two days a week for two hours each day as part of the regular treatment program. Warriors will receive both classroom instruction as well as hands on training time. If a warrior finds that he or she really enjoys working with the canines, there is opportunity for them to take on additional training and kennel care responsibilities.

Seek the Peace You Deserve

If you’re struggling with addiction and PTSD, 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.