U of S leads study on service animals for veterans with PTSD
The University of Saskatchewan is heading up a new program that focuses on helping veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The new study will examine the benefi of service animals and problematic alcohol and drug use among veterans stuggling with PTSD. Dr. Colleen Dell from the University of Saskatchewan said an important aspect of the program is its close ties to the Canadian Forces.
“It really places the veteran’s voice at the centre of everything that we’re doing, and it makes sure and ensures that we ask the right questions,” she explained in a video about the program.
There were Five universities and a dozen community organizations and multiple other partners that will help create a tool kit over a three and a half year period.
University of Regina’s Darlene Chalmers believes it will be a real team effort. “There’s lots of work to be done with the veterans themselves to gain a better understanding,” she said.
The goal of the study is to run a pilot test with 30 veterans and PTSD service animals from the AUDEAMUS service dog program — which is run by and for veterans –during that time. Retired Cpt. Paul de Groot and his service dog, Raven, participated in the initial pilot study before the study received $1.4 million in funding.
“I know for certainty that I wouldn’t be where I am today without having Raven with me,” he said in the program video. “She keeps me out of the dark and that’s where I’d like to stay.”
Health Canada awarded the U of S team $850,000 to lead the project, the university is contributing $175,000. AUDEAMUS is providing $360,000 of in-kind support.