Service dogs have become a useful treatment for injured veterans, but it turns out the servicemembers training the dogs are reaping some benefits as well. Many soldiers have teamed up with the Warrior Canine Connection, which gives vets with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) the chance to treat their conditions with canine therapy, Stars and Stripes reports.
The non-profit organization is almost a year old and has seen considerable success in its short existence. The program works by taking young golden or Labrador retrievers and matching them with wounded warriors to help train them. So far, 85 vets have participated and the program's first puppy is preparing to be given to an injured vet.
Among those who have found comfort in training the service dogs is Marine Sgt. Jon Gordon, who has both TBI and PTSD. However, after working with Birdie, a black Labrador, his symptoms improved considerably.
"My anxiety is all better," he told the publication. "My relationship with my daughter is better. Just my ability to be out in public and be around people, I can stand it now."
Canine therapy has shown promise in helping alleviate the symptoms of PTSD, and its something that could impact a large number of veterans. Though there are no concrete figures, experts estimate between 13 and 20 percent of recent vets have PTSD.