Post Traumatic Growth
How Service Dogs Help Veterans
November 27, 2018
The Manor Club, Pelham, New York
Thanks to Frank Barbieri and the Manor Club staff for being wonderful hosts. The presentation began with a biographical overview, followed by how Ann’s struggle of vision loss and pursuit of obtaining a master’s degree in family therapy prepared her to working with veterans struggling with transitioning from the military to civilian life.
Ann’s journey also highlighted the link between her own guide dog’s ability to relax veteran in the counseling room and how veterans could ease the transition with a service dog.
Next, Ann explained what PTSD is, what happens when veterans suffer from TBI and how an appropriately bred and trained service dog helps them reduce the disabling effects of PTSD and TBI.
The breeding and training standards and certification process for the program as well as the dog and handler were the main focus, and Ann explained the symptom-reduction a veteran could expect when matched with a PTSD service dog.
Ann also reviewed what, exactly are the laws protecting a person working a service or guide dog. The qualifications of a legitimate service dog were explained, and Ann reviewed the limitations of an emotional support animal or therapy animal and cautioned the audience not to confuse an ESA or therapy dog with a service dog and how to tell the difference.
Ann reviewed how the Veterans’ Administration has approved some service dog training organizations as vendors to assist the veteran who receives a dog with the costs of taking care of the dog. She also cautioned there are also organizations that may require the veteran to pay for part of the dog’s training and yearly re-certification.
The final part of the presentation explained how powerful it is to work and live with a service dog. Ann also read a testimonial from a blind veteran who has been teamed with a guide dog for years and how much he felt it has enhanced his life.
A hand-out with resources was distributed and Ann concluded with a Q & A, followed by a humorous joke that got a great response.
Ann is available for a similar presentation for both the general public and professionals who work with veterans or a more generalized service dog presentation.