Military Therapy Dogs
A Military Therapy Dog refers to a dog trained to provide physical, occupational, or emotional therapy to wounded soldiers and active duty personnel in military installations, military and VA medical centers, and VA nursing homes.
Combat Stress Control Dogs
These specially trained canines are deployed in theater for active military personnel. They offer emotional support for servicemen and women dealing with combat stress, homefront issues, and sleep disorders. Working with combat stress control units, the dogs provide a nonjudgmental presence. The dogs' handlers have reported that soldiers have talked longer, and more meaningfully, to mental health professionals when the dogs were present.
Physical and Occupational Therapy Dogs
These dogs are important members of physical and occupational therapy rehabilitation teams at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. They can be trained to retrieve, to brace soldiers when they transfer from bed to chair, to help them get up if they fall. Through innovative "tug of war" exercises, the dogs can, with assisted tugging or resisted pulling, help soldiers as they adapt and work with their new prosthetic limbs.
Emotional Therapy Dogs
These dogs work with mental health professionals at VA and military medical centers to facilitate veterans' recovery from mental or social issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder.