POSTED ON December 2nd  - POSTED IN AbledWarriors
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AbledWarriors Post Banner shows a row of six Golden retriever puppies sitting side by side on a picnic table facings the camera, with green grass in the background. The puppies are wearing blue kerchiefs around their neck with the Warrior Canine Connection logo that shows the profile of a dog inside a blue star. The headline reads: Warrio Canine Connection: Vets With Combat Stress train Service Dogs For Fellow Vets.

Four-legged Friends Help Heal Invisible Wounds

Yolanda R. Arrington  | 

November 20, 2013

Anyone who has ever welcomed a pet into their home and heart can attest to the bonds this friendship can create. Research has long shown that companion animals – specifically dogs – help reduce blood pressure and ease stress. Military researchers aim to uncover the scientific reasons for human-to-dog connections, particularly as they apply to wounded warriors.


Dr. Patricia Deuster, a Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences professor, said some sort of biological marker is released upon contact with a dog that helps soothe or relieve the mind. “We all have a sense that it really works, but to bring something into mainstream practice, you have to have a scientific base. We’re trying to establish that base.” The university has received funding from the Department of Defense to look at the mechanisms by which pets help relieve the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and other invisible wounds.


The university team is partnering with a nonprofit organization called Warrior Canine Connection to research the effects of having a wounded warrior train a dog to become a service animal for another veteran. This practice dates back to 2008 but only now does DOD plan to closely study it. Deuster said it is a form of therapy for the service members. “If a wounded service member learns to train a dog, it gives them purpose in life because they are training the dog to help their buddy. They get unconditional love from the dog. They also have to go out and socialize the dog. They learn to be more optimistic, nurturing and how to control their anger.”


Warrior Canine Connection executive director Rick Yount said that service members with PTSD or mild traumatic brain injuries benefit greatly from working with service dogs. It can take two years and as many as 50 service members to train one dog. During that process, the veterans learn to become more patient, handle stressful situations better, interact with the public and shower praise upon the dog. Some even take the dogs home and, as a result, their sleeping patterns improve. One Marine credits the dog training methods with saving his marriage because it taught him to be a more patient parent and connect with his family, Yount said. “We are using the dog to teach [the veteran] that the world is a safe place.”


Deuster said the results of this study could greatly impact the way military doctors treat invisible wounds. “If we find out that people with PTSD can get better by training with service dogs, we’ll likely have more long-term programs instead of drug prescriptions.” That research should begin in 2014 and will take three years.



Abled Public Service Ad for Warrior Canine Connection where service members and Veterans with combat stress take on the critical mission of training service dogs for fellow Wounded Warriors. Click here to go to their website.


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Abled Public Service Ad - US Department of Veterans Affairs -Veterans-Health-Administration Guide and Service Dogs shows a photo of a guide dog in a harness and a service dog unloading clothing from a dryer.


Abled Public Service Ad for Wounded Warrior Project Shows a veteran with his arm around the shoulder of a young woman. It appears that he suffered facial injuries and finger amputations. He is smiling, wearing a yellow cap and red T-shirt. The Wounded Warrior project logo shows the silhouette of a soldier carrying a wounded comrade on his back next to a box containing the words 10 years. The headline text reads A Decade of Service - A Lifetime of Commitment. Give the gift of hope to an injured veteran. Click here to go to the Wounded Warrior Project website.

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AbledWarriors-Disabled American Veterans-Obama promises improved support

POSTED ON August 12th  - POSTED IN AbledWarriors
AbledWarriors banner shows a disabled veteran with an amputated leg standing with a crutch while saluting against the backdrop of the curve of the Earth seen from space with a sunrise glowing around the veterans silhouette and a global map showing as a partially dissolved backdrop.

AbledWarriors story banner shows U.S. President Barrack Obama is shown speaking at the Disabled American Veterans Association Conference in Orlando, Florida.


President Obama: ‘Mission’ to help veterans recover from the wounds of war

“After years of military service, you shouldn’t have to wait for years for the benefits you’ve earned.” 

Making that pledge to some 3,400 attendees at the Disabled American Veterans’ convention in Orlando, Florida this past weekend, President Barrack Obama lauded the “9/11 generation” of warriors who have fought wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and again pledged to help them transition back to civilian life.

One major complaint from veterans has been the backlog of claims for compensation from the VA. According to the White House, the VA backlog — which includes claims that have been in the system for 125 days or more — has decreased from 611,000 to about 496,000 in recent months, a 20% reduction.

President Obama said his team is working to reduce the backlog of compensation claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs, “I’m going to be honest with you, it has not moved as fast as I wanted. We are not where we need to be, but we are making progress.”

The president also outlined plans to spend more than $100 million on new research into mental health challenges, including post-traumatic stress disorder and what he called “this epidemic of suicide among our veterans and troops.”

Obama also said he is enlisting colleges to help train veterans for “the high-skilled jobs of tomorrow.

During his speech, Obama listed a series of “priorities” for veterans, including sufficient funding, improving the health care system, addressing homelessness among former troops and providing job training for returning service members.

With U.S. involvement in Iraq over and the war in Afghanistan coming to an end, Obama said “the job of caring for our veterans goes on, and our work caring for our newest veterans has only just begun.”



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