Service dogs have long helped veterans who had physical challenges. Service dogs can assist soldiers who are wheelchair bound. They can retrieve needed items. They can be trained to summons help, turn on lights, and open doors and many other things. However, using a service animal for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is a new science. This will open the way for assistance for people with a wide range of mental disorders. If a service dog can assist someone who has P.T.S.D.; can they help people suffering from depression, eating disorders, bi-polar or Schizophrenia?
Whether service animals are at a level where they can help in the public sector at this point or not; it is wonderful that our men and women who serve our country are able to access this tool. This is an exciting and promising concept. It is especially important when you consider this: every 65 minutes in the United States, a veteran takes his or her own life.
We can now have hope that with the help of trained professionals and perhaps with the love and devotion of dogs like Gumbo; hero’s like Erick Scott can live a full and productive and happy life. It brings us new hope for the citizens of this country from the very young to the elderly may have a tool that can be catered to their needs. The abilities are young and many are untapped. But it would be a wonderful thing if a service dog could help a child with Autism, or a senior citizen with Alzheimer’s.