The issue of PTSD and its treatment is one that is thankfully becoming more and more mainstream. There was a time when military members were told, “You’re not bleeding? No broken bones? Then suck it up!” This led to many of our nation’s veterans suffering because they did not get the treatment they needed in a timely fashion.
The ways that PTSD is treated are changing as well, and one of the ways that is gaining popularity is with the use of a service dog. Anecdotally, it is clear that service dogs help. But to properly train one takes years, and what is the evidence that having one works?
The University of Laval recently completed a study, ongoing since 2016, of 31 veterans with PTSD who had the help of a service dog. The attachment (PTSD participants report – link at top of article) is a copy of their initial findings. In a nutshell, it shows that PTSD and depressive symptoms are significantly lower after the veteran acquires a service dog, while overall quality of life is significantly higher.
The full report itself is not yet available, but this information is a strong indication that service dogs are “one of the best tools” available to help treat PTSD. We at the Royal Canadian Legion have realized this for a long time, and BC/Yukon Command is proud to be a supporter of the Vancouver Island Compassion Dogs, who have recently joined with BC and Alberta Guide Dogs with a view to providing their services across the province.
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