Mutually beneficial: Military veterans train shelter dogs

Mutually beneficial: Military veterans train shelter dogs

In a new study, military veterans relieve stress by training shelter dogs and, in turn, make the pooches more adoptable.
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Aug 09, 2011
By dvm360.com staff

Hopefully your veterinary patients’ bright eyes and bushy tails bring joy to your clients' lives—and yours too. Now the University of Missouri is using this same healing power of pets to help soldiers. After returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly 50 percent of soldiers experience combat-related issues ranging from substance abuse to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

That's why the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine's Research Center is conducting a study in which soldiers train shelter dogs. Researchers are studying the mutual benefit, saying that it will help veterans relieve stress and adjust to life after the war while making the dogs more adoptable.

In the first phase of the program, veterans train dogs in basic obedience. In phase two, veterans will mentor families who adopt shelter dogs. In phase three, the best of the best dogs will go on to become PTSD service dogs and work with other soldiers who need assistance.