NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — U.S. combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder are finding a promising new way to cope: therapy dogs.
As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported Tuesday, therapy dogs are becoming increasingly popular among PTSD patients, but demand far exceeds supply.
“She’ll get behind me and cover; that prevents someone from coming up behind me in a rapid motion and setting me off, I guess would be a good word for it,” war veteran Eric Wolfe said.
“I wake up in the middle of the night screaming and she woke me up; She put her paw on my face and woke me up. I get up and I start playing with her and we do other things to get rid of the bad thoughts,” war veteran Anibal Lugo said.
East Coast Assistance Dogs in Dobbs Ferry is one of roughly 50 non-profits which aim to help veterans suffering from PTSD, Young reported.
“We survive on donations,” said Dale Picard, of East Coast Assistance Dogs.
Currently, veterans in the Tri-State area are asked to pay $500 for a therapy dog — a bargain that is in danger as donations dwindle and demand continues to rise.
“I think the mindset is we’re getting out of Iraq and we’re getting out of Afghanistan. We’re going to ask the veterans to raise more money,” volunteer Barbara Jenkel said.
It takes two years to train a therapy dog. It’s estimated some veterans will eventually need three or four replacements during the course of their lives.
“If I never took another client, it would take me two years to fulfill my list,” said Lu Picard, of East Coast Assistance Dogs.
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