After extensive training, service dogs are paired with a wounded vet and become an extension, like another limb, helping with the vet’s physical journey through each day.
But it doesn’t stop there. Equally vital is the emotional dimension of the relationship. Vets and their service dogs bond. For many in the military, this bond is a major factor in helping them recover from the wounds and trauma of war, and cope with the day-to-day challenges back home.
Leyna, the “Great Listener”
Take Leyna, the service dog that assists Dozer Reed, an Army vet. He calls her a “great listener” and an important source of unconditional love.
Leyna’s is part of every facet of Reed’s life. In a recent story to mark National Dog Week, he mentioned the many ways the dog helps him.
The Science Behind the Comfort
Legally, service dogs are like an extension of the human. But medically they are “a medication without side effects that has so many benefits,” according to Dr. Edward Creagan, an oncologist at the Mayo Clinic. This is in addition to the dog’s ability to help with the physical demands of everyday life.
Scientists explain that just being with a service dog increases the owner’s level of Oxytocin, a hormone with a host of positive effects on a person’s mindset. This is especially true for vets suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, PTSD.
The positive effects include:
Win-Win for Dog and Human
For anyone who loves dogs, it’s obvious that people and dogs are a natural together. But researchers are looking into the science that explains this pairing.
First off, a major school of thought says dogs domesticated humans, not the other way around. Dogs started the process millennia ago, and they’re still working hard to perfect it. Service dogs are a logical progression in the ongoing give-and-take between humans and canines.
Usually people focus is on benefits of service dogs for humans. But appropriately enough to this type of pairing, it works both ways.
Rescue workers point out that many service dogs have a sad history of mistreatment or abandonment. Rescue groups find them in animal shelters, where service dog organizations choose those that have potential for training. The dog gets training and a purpose, as well as a person who needs him and provides a secure home life.
Useful Service Dog Resources
USA Service Dog Registration is here to support wounded vets and others who rely on service dogs. We make it simple to register your dog. Just 3 quick steps, and you’re done! And it’s free.
Our Resources section is a collection of helpful articles and links that answer your questions. Check airline requirements, state laws, housing essentials, and more. Look at our Service Dog information page for guidelines about where you can take your service dog and what questions a business owner can ask you.
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