Companions and Innovations
Service Animals are legally defined (Americans With Disabilities Act, 1990) and are trained to meet the disability-related needs of their handlers who have disabilities. Federal laws protect the rights of individuals with disabilities to be accompanied by their service animals in public places. Service animals are not considered ‘pets’.
Therapy Animals are not legally defined by federal law, but some states have laws defining therapy animals. They provide people with contact to animals, but are not limited to working with people who have disabilities. They are usually the personal pets of their handlers, and work with their handlers to provide services to others. Federal laws have no provisions for people to be accompanied by therapy animals in places of public accommodation that have “no pets” policies. Therapy animals usually are not service animals.
A Companion Animal is not legally defined, but is accepted as another term for pet.
Social/Therapy Animals have no legal definition. They often are animals that did not complete service animal or service dog training due to health, disposition, trainability, or other factors, and are made available as pets for people who have disabilities. These animals might or might not meet the definition of service animals.
The Delta Society
PTSD symptoms caused by witnessing or participating in a traumatic event can affect two people, standing side by side,
very differently. PTSD is rarely cured; it can be treated, however. Whether ‘acute’, ‘chronic’, or ‘delayed’, effective treatments can vary from wounded warrior to wounded warrior.
Physical, behavioral, and/or emotional symptoms can be helped tremendously by the presence of a well trained Semper Fido PTSD Service Dog. Anxiety, panic, fear, irritability, depression, withdrawal, isolation, hyper-vigilance, loss of trust, nightmares, reoccurring flashbacks, phobias of crowds, phones, e-mail, stores, buildings, vehicles, unfamiliar people, insomnia, fatigue, pounding heart, migraines, difficulty concentrating, paranoia, sleepwalking, suicidal thoughts, anti social behavior, suspicion, and poor self esteem are only some of the symptoms where a Semper Fido PTSD Service Dog has proven useful in alleviating.
Working as a team with the warrior’s counselors, family support and medical support team is step one. Talk therapy, positive motivation, relaxation training, systematic desensitization, biofeedback, cognitive behavioral therapy and pharmacotherapy are but some of the treatments in the therapeutic ‘toolbox’. As with anything, some work better on some warriors than others.
The formation of a Stress Assault Team or a team effort is only one strategy in stress management. Finding those who can validate and appreciate the warrior such as family, friends, counselor, doctor, chaplain, spouse, children, parents, or friends from his/her unit may help.
The Stress Assault Team can often be greatly enhanced by the use of a highly trained Semper Fido PTSD Service Dog. Dogs might be huggable to look at, but they have a far more important role to play – to help re-integrate military veterans scarred by events experienced during their time in the military.