Paws and Stripes is a not-for-profit organization that helps to provide service dogs for military war veterans suffering from brain-related injuries and post-traumatic stress disorders resulting from the horrors of war and conflict.
The organization integrates training of service dogs, education and support for personnel affected with mental health issues following time spent in a war zone. Veterans deserve to spend a full and rich life after spending time fighting for his or her country, therefore the organization believes veterans should be helped in any way possible. The idea of using trained dogs has an especially strong advantage when working with people affected by post-traumatic stress.
The Smithsonian Institute discovered in research in 2011 that veterans who served time in Iraq and Afghanistan benefited tremendously from the presence of owning an animal, specifically a dog. In several cases the research noted that veterans’ lives were saved because of a powerful connection that exists only between man and his four-legged canine best friend.
During post-trauma, a veteran will suffer a number of anxiety-related disorders such as depression, anxiety, fear and substance abuse. A sufferer can feel isolated and even harbour thoughts of suicide or aggression towards others. Somehow or another, a dog can manage to draw out the most isolated, deep and darkest sides of a person’s personality and in a way only science can explain, it helps to develop a patient’s ability to communicate, to overcome aggression and be more assertive.
Paws and Stripes is funded by grants and donations from generous firms, organizations and individuals. For a veteran to enrol, he or she need never pay a cent to enrol in the program.
Where Do the Dogs Come From?
The dogs in the Paws and Stripes program come only from animal shelters and all the training of the dogs is carried out by fully qualified dog handlers and experts. The dogs are often trained with the veteran, rather than with the trainer and then moved on to take on residence with the veteran.
Paws and Stripes was founded in 2010 by Lindsey and Jim Stanek after Jim had himself suffered from TBI and post-traumatic stress disorder. Jim had been out to Iraq three times but upon his return was forced to check in at an Army Medical Centre in Texas, where he discovered therapy and relief came in the form of our four-legged friends.
If you would like more information on the Paws and Stripes organization.