Therapy dogs have been shown to help humans with all different types of struggles – physical, mental and emotional. Many organizations are helping pair veterans who have PTSD with rescue dogs to be companions, and this man says it’s making a world of difference. This veteran served for 8 years and now suffers from both Parkinson’s and PTSD.
He spent almost 8 months looking for the right companion and then he found his new best friend Bentley, an Italian Greyhound. Darren Davis-Kandler says he spends all day with his new friend and he feels significantly better. This is the response you'll get from every therapy dog handler.
Having a companion helps him get outside and socialize with people. It has also really helped him add structure to his life. Davis-Kandler ended up not being able to work, so having a dog like Bentley around gives him someone to take care of. It gives him a sense of fulfillment.
The affection that Bentley gives to Darren helps him too. It’s nice to have company and a playful friend to make you laugh.
Darren says they have both been there for each other actually. Bentley was put up for adoption when his owners divorced and he needed a loving home. Bentley can get anxiety in loud places, and Darren is there to help calm his nerves.
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Many more veterans are benefiting from having a therapy dog that can accompany them everywhere. An incredible organization, called Companions for Heroes, offers emotional support dogs to veterans for free. This amazing nonprofit also offers free companions for first responders and military personnel with PTSD.
This organization helped find the perfect dog for Darren even though the whole process took over half a year. Darren did research and decided on a certain type of dog he wanted, so the process took longer than usual.
Darren inevitably found Bentley with the help of Companions for Heroes through Italian Greyhound Rescue Gulfcoast. Emotional support dogs can truly help people feel better. When they are shown love and affection and in turn when they give it, there is a positive response in the body and brain.
If you know a veteran, you can encourage them to consider adopting a service dog. It doesn’t have to be a big dog, and he could already be trained. The dog can also help them with everyday things such as reminding them to take medication.
The more we share this information through the internet, the more lives it can touch and hopefully more people suffering from PTSD will find relief.
If there is no organization in your area helping pair veterans with dogs, maybe consider spearheading one or encouraging the local animal rescue organizations to work with the veteran’s association and get the dogs trained to be wellness dogs. There are so many dogs that are sitting sad in shelters wanting for an owner they can help and love, we just need to help them.
Look for the organizations in your area and start the conversations. Maybe even bring this story about Bentley and Darren and show it to them. Remember, it’s a win-win situation because it saves dogs that are in the shelter and it helps someone who truly needs it.