Thanks to Battle Buddies, a nonprofit organization based out of Battle Ground, Washington, veterans of war are now getting a powerful aid in helping them cope with PTSD. Dogs are hand selected to enter into this therapy program and are specifically trained to help detect the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
So far 32 dogs have been paired with veterans over the past four years, including one man who served his country in Vietnam. Phil Carroll is more than thankful for his German Shepherd Battle Buddy named Rimfire. Carroll's PTSD sneaks up on him at times, but his faithful canine intuitively knows when an attack is coming on.
Rimfire will immediately jump into action by distracting his friend. He will lick his face or try to engage Carroll in play…whatever it takes. This devoted dog is even more special to his owner because Carroll served as an Air Force military dog handler in 1970 and '71 during the Vietnam War. Another German Shepherd named Tina helped the soldier guard the perimeter of his camp at night.
Unfortunately, Tina was euthanized in Vietnam after her tour-of-duty, much to Carroll's heartache and dismay.
The effects of PTSD are not the same for all those who fought in war. Carroll denied he was even suffering from this condition, but now looking back, he realizes he has most likely been affected for the last 40 years. He was depressed, nervous of whom may be lurking in the bushes and tried to constantly avoid large crowds of people.
However, just eight months after being referred to Battle Buddies and having Rimfire come into his life, Carroll feels like his old self again. This is all thanks to this canine's service and dedication to keeping him calm and allowing him a healthier option to focus on – rather than the horrendous memories of wartime.
This service works because dogs give support and security, which in turn allows the veterans to regain their independence and freedom…the very same rights these brave folks fought to keep for all of America.
There is a special and intuitive bond that instantly happens between vet and Battle Buddy. Persian Gulf Veteran, Jerry Land, knew the moment he and his black Labrador Retriever, Bo laid eyes on each other that they were meant to be. Bo ran right to Land and they hugged each other for about an hour.
Bo has helped Land in so many ways and he knows they will be together until, death do they part.
With generous donations from the public, the Northwest Battle Buddies program hopes to train and pair 60 dogs with needy veterans in 2016. However, this isn't a cheap expenditure. Each dog costs approximately $23,000 to train, so they are looking to generous people to help out with this worthy cause.
If you'd like to give to the Northwest Battle Buddy program, attend one of their fundraisers or are a veteran that wants to be paired with a furry service companion, please contact them through their web site.