The Veteran’s Service Dog is an alert dog that is specially trained for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This is a mental disorder that veterans may suffer as they are deployed to war zones.
The specially trained dogs help veterans to cope with stress caused by traumatic experiences in war zones. The dogs recognize the first symptoms of a nightmare and give a warning and also help to avoid stressful situations and are able to calm their “boss” and feel safe. This allows veterans with PTSD recover faster from their trauma and resume their normal lives.
For the pilot, the project team are looking for Veterans with PTSD who wish to qualify for a Veteran’s Service Dog to improve their general life welfare.
The following tasks can be a service dog to perform:
- Wake and / or create light during a reliving of a nightmare
- Accompany on the street
- View a room occupants
- Find the way home when disorientated
- Provide distraction from worrying and depression
- Help relax by his presence
- Anger and anxiety indicated by contact with nose, head on your lap or jump
- Move away from a situation where you feel unsafe
- Keep personal zone free by standing between you and other people
Other specific tasks can also be negotiated as part of the project.
Selection of participants will be undertaken by a psychologist and instructors collaborating on the pilot. Successful applicants will then be put on a waiting list.
The pilot will study fourteen veterans with PTSD – seven of which will work with a dog and seven will take part in the research without a dog for comparison.
The Veterans Dog project is a collaboration of Service Dogs Netherlands, The Veterans House, Royal PIT Pro Rege and Dr. A. Wiersema-Ouwehand. The partners are committed to promote the advantages of having a veteran dog with war veterans and raise awareness of the Veterans Dogs among a larger group of people in the Netherlands to raise funds for the training of the dogs.
For more information please visit the website http://www.hulphond.nl/pagina/