In the Sunday, October 9 edition of The Herald Times, Bloomington, Indiana, there was an article entitled “Returning Soldiers Met by Welcome Waggin.’” Written by Franklin Daily Journal staff writer, Ryan Trares, it contains information that again verifies the value of dogs in our lives. They are our friends, our helpers, our family. Briefly, Trares shares the following.
There are two army posts in the entire U.S. where therapy dogs welcome U.S. soldiers returning from deployment in war ravaged areas. Camp Atterbury at Edinburgh, Indiana is one of those.
When soldiers return, they go through a final processing procedure involving their physical, financial, and emotional status. Filling out a lot of forms is part of the process. However, when the therapy dogs enter the area, there is an immediate lessening of tension. The soldiers pet and hug the dogs, and smiles come to their faces. One dog owner said, “Their shoulders get less rigid, their eyes light up, and they smile.”
Therapy dogs are used in lots of places: nursing homes, hospitals, libraries, and schools. And, now, with our returning military personnel. Medical studies have shown that just petting a dog can lower one’s blood pressure, feelings of depression, and anxiety. Therapy dogs have served in combat zones and have been used to help treat post traumatic stress.
Dogs used for therapy must be friendly, non-aggressive, and tolerant of all people. They are trained especially to comfort those who are sick, stressed, or emotionally ailing. Volunteers numbering about 90 with more signing up each day, bring their trained and certified (by Therapy Dogs International) therapy dogs to the army base several times a week. One volunteer described the joys of being there when the soldiers are returning to the U.S. She said (and I paraphrase) “The soldiers smile, get relief from what they’ve been through, and are able to forget for a few minutes what they have done and seen and just receive a little bit of love.”
I love dogs. I love this story. The joys that dogs can bring are endless. And I hope that if you are interested in a dog, or adding more dogs to your family, that you will visit your local animal shelter during National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, and take home a new best buddy for your family.
This post written by Pam Todd, www.bagsandmorebypam.artfire.com, a member of the Crafting for Animals Guild, a group of Artfire sellers who may make items for animals and who are supporting various animal charities or volunteering at their local shelters. During the week of October 23 – 29, 2011, participating CFA shops will donate 10% of the purchase price of items if the buyer uses the CFA-CRHR coupon code during their purchase.