For many veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries, a service dog can be physically and emotionally beneficial. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is currently conducting a study to determine if it can be proven that emotional-assistance dogs or service dogs can help veterans with these conditions. But at least until those results are in, the finding the funds for obtaining, training, and caring for a service dog falls on the veteran.
Nonprofit organizations, including K9s for Warriors, work to provide American vets with trained service dogs at no cost.
Now, Bayer Corporation is taking that one step further with its new Operation K9 Care program, which provides free health and wellness services and goods for service dogs donated through K9s for Warriors. Services that will be covered include physical exams, vaccinations, diagnostic testing, fecal exams, and parasite preventatives.
“These shelter-to-service dogs and veterans form deep, lifetime bonds built on mutual love, care and devotion,” David Van Brunt of Bayer Animal Health said in a press release. “Operation K9 Care demonstrates and honors not only our nation's service men and women, but the dogs that bring the joy of living back into their lives.”
The VA study is expected to run until 2018 and aims to enroll 230 veterans.
"The findings should give VA a solid basis for making decisions about the provision of service dogs for Veterans with PTSD," Dr. Patricia Dorn, director of VA Rehabilitation Research and Development said.
See an anecdotal example of how a dog can help a veteran with PTSD in the below video:
Top image: DoD photo by Sgt. Jason Brace, U.S. Army