One in four military veterans returning from Iraq, Afghanistan and other combat zones suffer from PTSD, depression, or anxiety. Soldiers return home with feelings of abandonment and often have a difficult time adjusting to civilian life. The adjustment can include depression, substance abuse—and in the worse cases—violence and suicide.
Working and training service dogs has proven to be very beneficial to veterans. The bond created by the training process can lessen stress and help veterans deal with the invisible scars of war. Dogs provide confidence, love and comfort to transform lives. Below are the programs we use to accomplish this.
PAWSITIVE PARTNERSHIPS: VETERANS
Not all veterans require a dog that has as much training as the dogs in the Pawsitive Healing for Veterans program. The Pawsitive Partnerships program places dogs that we’ve evaluated and rescued from a shelter with a veteran who immediately starts working with us to train the dog for their specific needs. Participants in this program come to weekly trainings with their companion where they learn how to train the dog using positive reinforcement. These dogs give the veterans comfort, security and love, and the veterans do the same for the dogs.
COMFORT CREW: VETERANS
This program is designed to help veterans who’d like to give back. With our help, veterans can train their dogs to be therapy animals and take them to places to help give other veterans comfort—such as VA hospitals and assisted living programs for veterans.
DIAMONDS IN THE RUFF: DOGS
If a dog that we’ve rescued doesn’t work in our Pawsitive Healing or Parternship program, we adopt them out to the public. We never give a dog back to a shelter—these dogs are our “Diamonds in the Ruff.” Our dogs are health, spayed/neutered, vaccinated, microchipped, and assessed for proper behavior. Some of them have also receieved basic training with our trainers.
We do our best to make sure the dog will fit in their new home and all parties will benefit from the relationship. We do require a foster period before adoptions are final, and ask that the dog be returned to CWAC if the dog can no longer stay with the adopters.
PAWSITIVE HEALING PRISON PROGRAM
In this program, we partner with the Utah State Prison Women’s Correctional Facility. After the female inmates go through training with our staff, our dogs move into the prison and are trained in basic obedience tasks by the female inmates. This is great for the dogs, who receive round the clock attention and training. The inmates benefit from this positive interaction and are able to give back to the community. Once the dogs have completed their training, they are placed with a veteran.