January 9, 2010

Soldiers & Shelter Dogs

What do soldiers and shelter dogs have in common? Many have been through traumatic experiences.
Former Air Force senior airman, Dave Sharpe recognized a transformation in himself after adopting a pit bull puppy from a local rescue. Prior to the adoption, Sharpe found himself waking at night to episodes of violence. The puppy gave him someone to open up to without fear of judgment. He could unleash his feelings & experiences while the puppy listened quietly and then lick his face to assure him everything would be ok.
The dogs give these heroes something else to focus on other than their injuries and trauma experienced in the past.
Sharpe started Pets2Vets partnering with the Washington Animal Rescue League to pair military vets with shelter dogs. This program helps Vets who suffer from brain injuries and PTSD get matched with dogs appropriate for their families, who would otherwise not be eligible for a service dog.
Service men and woman at Walter Reed Army Medical Center are transported to the W.A.R.L. shelter where they are matched with suitable shelter dogs 60 days before they are released from the hospital. The program then sets up weekly visits with their new dog and finally provides transportation for the dog to any location within the U.S. and pays for the dog’s first year of veterinary care.
Anyone who has shared their life with a dog knows the health benefits they can have...we didn’t need scientific studies to prove that one. Talk about a win-win!!!
For more information and how you can help support this wonderful work...visit www.pets2vets.org. They also have a Facebook page to follow the program.

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I train dogs using positive reinforcement training to modify unwanted behaviors.  I step outside the traditional training box and use therapeutic-grade essential oils to assist in my behavior modification regime when it comes to dogs plagued with fear and anxiety as well as aggression.  My philosophy is to heal the dog's mind, body and spirit, not just to rid the dog of unacceptable behaviors.  I specialize in shelter dog rehab, reactive rover, and fearful fidos.