Group provides therapy dogs to assist in veterans' recovery | Dogalize
Cincinnati veterans have been getting help from an unlikely source, as therapy dogs have been making visits at the VA Hospital.
“When you’ve got an animal it just kind of sweetens up the day, you know?” said Keith, who is a 20-year veteran of the Army.
Chris, a younger soldier who is only a few years removed from two tours in Afghanistan, said the therapy pets are stress relievers.
“You can’t be in a bad mood and any kind of animal comes in – cat, dog, and you instantly just get into a better mood,” Chris said.
The interaction with the therapy animals here at The VA can help these veterans through their time here at the hospital, but it can also be important to their recovery at home.
Mental Health Program coordinator Carol Rumpler said they’re already a benefit to vets in reduced anxiety and depression and improved relaxation after sessions with the therapy pets.
The pilot program has been in place for about six months.
“The dogs pick up the anxiety symptoms and are able to really help them through anxiety management which is very, very helpful,” Rumpler said.
Officials said the affection of a dog and the sense of responsibility are powerful motivators for recovery.
So much so that Chris said he is hoping to have a therapy dog of his own.
“You get an animal and you tend to be out more, because of course you have to take them to the restroom and take them out on walks,” Chris said.
He said it can be a huge benefit for people who have PTSD, who tend to isolate themselves.
The Therapy Pets group also spends time visiting patients at Children’s Hospital and at local nursing homes.
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