Paws of War Program
On Monday, March 25th Guardians emptied the shelter at Fort Bragg, NC to help the four-legged victims of deployed soldiers. This troop of furry canines will soon be paired up with veterans. A soldier to soldier program that gives veterans and the dogs a new leash on life! It was truly a day to remember. Special thanks to Colonel Jeffrey M Sanborn, Fort Bragg Garrison Commander, The Public Affairs Office at Fort Bragg, Animal Control Officer Jeff of Fort Bragg and Cassy Peterson, Shelter Director of Fayetteville Animals Protection Society who is getting the dogs all up to date on medical.
Guardians of Rescue member John Walis, a US Army Corporal who served in Afghanistan spearheaded the Paws of War Program. John knows firsthand the emotional effects of war. “Many veterans of war suffer from PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”, said Corporal Walis. “It can have emotionally paralyzing effects. Daily living can become difficult and often be filled with feelings of paranoia and fear.”
Robert Misseri, Founder of Guardians of Rescue developed this program after meeting John. The organization arranged for “Tommy”, a shaggy mixed breed dog from Afghanistan to come to the states and become John’s best friend for life. “Animals have a very therapeutic, calming effect on people.” said Mr. Misseri, “Whether a trained therapy dog or a purring lap cat, the emotional connection can become a foundation of trust.”
According to Smithsonaian.com, animals draw out even the most isolated personality, and having to praise the animals helps traumatized veterans overcome emotional numbness. Teaching the dog’s service commands develops a persons ability to communicate, to be assertive but not aggressive, a distinction some struggle with. The dogs can also assuage the hyper vigilance common in vets with PTSD. Some participants report they finally got some sleep knowing that a naturally alert soul was standing watch.
Researchers have found evidence that bonding with dogs has biological effects, such as elevated levels of the hormone oxytocin which improves trust, and the overcoming of paranoia and other pro-social effects.
This is a free service for veterans who suffer from PTSD and other emotional coping issues. The dogs will be trained to be emotional therapy dogs. They will be be able to accompany their owners anywhere they go such as airplanes, restaurants, and other public venues. Documentation will be provided for the veteran. It is completely discreet and non-obtrusive to the public or professionals of the establishments the veteran will be entering. Guardians of Rescue will also provide a life time of services to assist the veteran with his/her new best friend.