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PTSD Vet Get Help from Service Dog 23 August 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in PTSD, Service Dogs, Veterans.
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This is an excellent article from KULR-8 TV in Billings MT:

BILLINGS – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can cause life-long struggles with depression and flash-backs. Christina Avey was unsure when someone recommended she get a service dog. Making a mistake many do by thinking the animals only assist people with physical disabilities. But Christina is now very emotional about the way her new dog Zeus has changed her life.

Christina Avey is an army veteran. She served from 19-80 to 1986 and again in 1997. Christina no longer talks about the trauma that caused her Post Traumatic stress Disorder, but she lives with the consequences every day. She says since her diagnosis 11 years ago life has changed dramatically. “It’s destroyed my life.” says Avey. She says because of PTSD, she has trouble dealing with society in general and suffers from depression, nightmares and flashbacks. Now, 11 years later, Avey finally feels like she has hope. “I met another person who had a therapy animal, and for me I needed it more because I knew where I was heading. Deeper inside where I might not come out of my house anymore.”

Soon after Avey got in touch with Deb Bouwkamp, an instructor with Service Canines of Montana. Deb has trained service dogs for 13 years; but Zeus is the first animal she trained to help a PTSD patient. “It’s a very new concept. it’s not fully accepted around the U.S.” But Bouwkamp says medical professionals are recommending it.

And Avey is getting the word out with a web-site because she thinks this can help other veterans. “He is a bridge to a life that I had been missing. There’s people talking to me, there’s people talking to me that I had pushed away and didn’t want to talk to before. You lose trust with PTSD. He’s what I call a bridge to life.” says Avey. Bouwkamp says she sees a huge change in Avey since getting Zeus. “She called me and I had to ask who it was because it wasn’t the same sown voice, her voice has lifted.” It’s still a daily struggle for Avey, but she says she now feels something she hasn’t in a long time, safe.

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[NOTE: Waiting for the Woof ended 10/2/08. Living with the Woof picks up with the addition of Emmy to our lives! Please join me at: Living With the Woof for the ongoing saga of the Woof! Our adventures and our foibles will be chronicled there.]


Iraq Vet Gets Dog, New Chance at Life 20 March 08

Posted by turtlemom3 in PAALS, PTSD, Service Dogs, Support PAALS, TBI.
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Yellow Labrador Helps His Owner to Recover Following Injuries in Iraq

March 19, 2008 ABC News

Until recently, Sgt. Bill Campbell’s horrifying memories from his tour of duty in Iraq left him unable to leave his house.

Constantly fearing he would be attacked from behind — a paranoia stemming from his violent tour of duty — Campbell says his post traumatic stress disorder symptoms made everyday life virtually unbearable.

That is, until he met Pax, a now 17-month-old yellow Labrador, specially trained to help him cope with PTSD, doing everything from reminding him to take his medication to coaxing him out of his house.

“Pax forces me to go out,” Campbell told ABCNEWS.com. “He has to go for walks.”

Pax was donated to Campbell by the N.Y.-based non-profit organization Puppies Behind Bars, an organization that has provided service dogs to individuals with disabilities since 1997, but just recently expanded their program to include war veterans, too.


Turtlemom Sez: Just wow!! When you read the whole article, be sure you click on the photo gallery and look at all those wonderful pics of Pax helping Sgt. Campbell get out in the community and out in the out-of-doors! These are things that only a few weeks ago were impossible for him to do! I’m so happy for this guy I started crying as I read the article!! Puppies Behind Bars is a great program, but so is PAALS! So please don’t forget to support PAALS for me!!