OTTAWA — A private fundraiser aimed at pairing companion dogs with soldiers who suffer from post traumatic stress was launched today.
Philip Ralph, a Canadian Forces Baptist minister and member of Wounded Warriors Canada, says with the Afghan training mission drawing to a close there are thousands of soldiers whose “heart and soul have not come home.”
The wounded warriors charity kicked off a planned 2014 cycling fundraiser with a pledge to put the proceeds toward expanding programs that help veterans access service dogs for therapy.
A growing body of research, mostly in the United States, has shown how soldiers with post traumatic stress bond with the dogs, and easing their anxiety and fears.
Veterans Affairs Canada launched a pilot program in co-operation with St. John Ambulance Canada last spring, but a series of internal briefings stretching back three years cast a skeptical eye on the benefits, and question whether there has been enough scientific research.
The department covers cost for veterans who use service dogs for physical disabilities, including blindness, but doesn’t do the same for those suffering from mental-health issues.