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Service dogs help soldiers with PTSD

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POSTED: April 6, 2014 7:00 p.m.
Photo by Lewis Levine/

Woof P.A.C.T. (Partners Are Created Together) trains service dogs like this one to help soldiers with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries and other emotional and physical struggles.

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It’s often been said that dogs are man’s best friend, and the members of Woof P.A.C.T. (Partners Are Created Together) want to ensure soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder are never without faithful companions.
On March 27, the nonprofit organization set up camp outside the 4th Brigade Combat Team shopette to educate the public on the expense associated with training dogs, which can run anywhere between $18,000 and $25,000. Once trained, the canine’s are provided free of charge to soldiers in need of support and comfort.
Woof P.A.C.T. member Kimberly Terrell said the animals help soldiers and other with PTSD, diabetes, traumatic brain injuries and a host of other conditions.
Terrell said it can take anywhere between six months to a year to train the dogs, which are breed-non-specific.  
“We conduct a temperament test on the dogs, whose ages can range from a puppy to a senior dog. The dogs go through public-access and  personality testing. The organization also matches the dogs with the needs of the service member,” she said.
 The dogs can assist their partners in a variety of situations, such as waking them up from nightmares to helping them go out in public.
Spec. Christian Baker’s dog, Moose, helps him handle battle PTSD.  
“Recently, there was an explosion of a transformer, which shook me up some and caused me to go into a nervous breakdown,” Baker said. “My service dog helped me calm down by sitting with me until I calmed down.”  
The two spend a lot of time together, sometimes up to 10 hours or more per day. Moose even sleeps in Baker’s bed.
Terrell said that providing the dogs to service members is the organization’s way of saying “thank you.”  
“Being able to provide a PTSD service dog for these guys is the most rewarding aspect of what I do,” she said.
The organization works strictly off of donations, and service member are not charged for dogs.

 

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