Military therapy dogs are helping persuade troops returning from combat to enter into and stick with counseling.
The U.S. military has over 2,500 trained dogs to assist warriors on the battlefield. Some sniff bombs, while others carry extra ammunition and supplies. But it’s those like Lexy and other therapy dogs from the Canine Warrior Connection in Brookville, Maryland, that are helping troops once they come back home, ABC reports.
Lexy is a 5-year-old German shepherd military therapy dog stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. This special canine sits in during counseling sessions and provides troops with an added layer of comfort.
Staff Sgt. Dennis Swols, who served seven tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, suffered from debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder. He never cared much for counseling, but with Lexy’s friendship he finally agreed to open up.
“I can say the first time I killed someone, I cried,” Swols said. “And I never went and got help.”
When asked if having Lexy with him during counseling sessions helped, Swols said, “Without a doubt, without a doubt. I could tell a story. I could cry. I could do anything and she’s not going to judge me.”
According to psychiatrist Maj. Christine Rumayor, who works with Lexy at Fort Bragg, the therapy dogs help get the troops “through the hard stuff so they can keep talking and work through their issues.”
[ ABC ]