Dogs are wonderful companions especially if you suffer from PTSD. They are very calming and loving and bring happiness into the home.
What I would like to speak about tonight are some very special dogs who do a job that can actually help change the lives of people with PTSD. These special working dogs are service dogs trained especially for those who have PTSD. These amazing dogs are trained and tailored to fit each owner and their needs.
They perform tasks such as alerting when you are having a flashback and they will come and paw at you or jump on you or lick you until you come out of it. This immediately grounds you back into the here and now. They can perform a task called seek, which they will search the entire house when you enter it to make sure there is nobody there who shouldn’t be in order to make you feel safe. When you are angered or irritable and they hear it in your voice, they will alert again by doing the same thing as when you have a flashback. Also they will alert you when you are having nightmares and wake you up. Some of them can be taught to respond to an alarm, and alert the same way to get you out of bed. This can also be done with an alarm for medication, in fact they can even be trained to bring you your medication.
These specially trained dogs can go with you everywhere because they are trained service dogs and while out in public can perform such tasks as alerting you to when someone is approaching you, or what’s called blocking so that nobody can get near you, just by standing in the way or circling you, so that you feel safe. They will also alert you if you have flashbacks, panic attacks etc. while out in public.
There are organizations who will provide these dogs free of charge to veterans and first responders free of charge, however it can take up to two years depending on the size of the list and the availability of the right dog. The person they are placed with is responsible for food, vet bills and regular care of the dog that is placed with them.
There are also organizations who provide dogs free of charge with the same stipulations as above for non-military and non-first responders who have been diagnosed with PTSD.
There is an application process for both and my suggestion if you are interested is to do a search of your location to see if and where these awesome service dogs are provided.
The other option is to either purchase or train a dog you already own with a trainer who specializes in PTSD service dog training.
I am thinking about placing myself on a list to get one, although I haven’t made up my mind yet because I have a small place and I also have two cats that factor into the equation.