Just weeks after bringing home his dog, Brandon Allen, an Iraq war veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), was able to cut in half his dose of anxiety and sleep medications. The terrible dreams at night and suicidal thoughts that filled his brain ended. He finally felt safe and at peace with himself.
This is a story we often hear: vets who can finally go back to a grocery store for the first time in years, ride the bus and start working on a new life. The dogs that give them this gift are not just pets; they are lifesaving service animals trained to help their people leave the battlefield behind.
Up to 31% of soldiers returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan experience depression or PTSD that can impact their jobs, relationships, and daily lives, according to a new study by Army researchers. For as many as 14% of these veterans, the depression or PTSD causes major problems in their daily lives, including alcohol abuse and aggressive behavior.
Canines With A Cause (CWAC) was created with the intent to save healthy, adoptable dogs from local shelters and place them with disabled veterans as loving companions and assistance dogs. With our program at the Utah State Prison, we are now able to begin basic training to better place dogs and continue the training with the veteran in need.
ABOUT CWAC: BIOS
Cathy has spent twenty-six years working with non-profit organizations. Of those years, nineteen have been with organizations dedicated to animal welfare.”Animal-based therapy has always made sense to me. After a long stressful day, nothing makes me feel better than coming home to my dogs meeting me at the door with their tails wagging.”
Shaun is a nationally certified professional dog trainer who believes that the key to successful relationships with our dogs lies in clear, effective, and positive communication. A member of the CWAC team since 2011, Shaun particularly enjoys helping families explore the therapeutic benefits of an attentive and loving dog.
Dr. Lynne Gilbert-Norton is a canine behavior specialist with over 15 years of academic and applied experience in animal behavior, including unique experience training coyotes. She holds a BSc in psychology, an MSc in animal behavior, and a PhD in wildlife biology.