A Life-Changing Companion
There are literally hundreds of thousands of veterans disabled by PTSD who can benefit significantly simply by sharing life with a specially-trained PTSD Battle Buddy Dog.
“(My PTSD Dog) Tuesday is my constant companion,” writes retired Army Captain Luis Montalvan in his best-seller book Until Tuesday. Montalvan, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in Iraq in 2003, says he was depressed and paranoid, couldn’t hold a job, and alienated everyone in his life with his sudden bursts of anger alternating with extended silence.
“I was very prone to panic-attacks, agoraphobia, flashbacks, and “gray outs” where I would lose track of where I was or what I was doing,” Montalvan continues.“Tuesday keeps me in the moment. He is trained to monitor my breathing and heart rate, so he can nudge me back to reality before a situation starts.
“I was also prone to hyper-vigilance. Now, I can put my hand on Tuesday and feel calmness returning to my mind. That may not sound like much, but for the two years before I adopted Tuesday, I was too paranoid and withdrawn to leave my apartment. I lived like a hermit, cut off even from my family. Tuesday has helped me reconnect with the world.”
Boosting the Love Hormone
Vets paired with service dogs virtually always show improvement; Suicide rates, divorce, substance abuse and prescription use decline dramatically when teamed together. Simply petting a dog lowers the patient’s heart rate, eases anxiety and reduces stress.
These incredible Battle Buddy Dogs can even produce measurable biochemical changes in the vets’ brains. Just petting a dog can boost oxytocin–aka the love hormone–that calms the brain’s fear trigger. High oxytocin levels also improve trust and the ability to interact with others while reducing paranoia and other PTSD symptoms.