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Dogs Help Veterans Cope With PTSD


(Nutley, NJ)—Under a new bill proposed by Senator Al Franken (D-Minn), some veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (known as PTSD) will get service dogs as part of a pilot program run by the government.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychological disorder affecting individuals after exposure to profoundly traumatic events. Nearly a third of the soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan report symptoms of severe PTSD, according to a new study by the Rand Corp.

While some returning vets are able to cope with medication and counseling, others require alternative methods, and this is when service dogs are a big help.

“Service or therapy dogs are specially trained animals who can ease PTSD symptoms by providing psychological support and comfort,” says Joe Dwyer, dog trainer, motivational speaker and author of the new book “Shelby’s Grace.” “These dogs help suffering veterans leave the war behind and come back to real life.”

In his book, Mr. Dwyer describes his remarkable odyssey with an abused pit bull named Shelby, who he saved from a shelter. In return, she saved him from a terrible depression and anxiety, and together they recovered their senses of purpose. Now Shelby is a certified therapy dog who helps people in difficult times.

It took some time for PTSD to be recognized as a serious psychological disorder. Now studies show significant reductions in PTSD symptoms and in reliance on medication after veterans receive service dogs.

The typical symptoms of PTSD are:
* Depression
* Anxiety
* Panic attacks
* Nightmares
* Flashbacks
* Isolation

“Today, dogs are more than just pets--they are life savers,” says Mr. Dwyer. ”Many people would not be the same without them. They are truly amazing"

About the Author
Joe Dwyer is a motivational speaker, a life coach and a member of the National Speakers Association. He is also a dog trainer and a martial artist. Previously, he worked as a chemical engineer and an executive for Verizon and the Archdiocese of Newark. Joe is a man of faith and
spirituality, and he supports rescue groups and therapy dog training. He lives in Nutley, NJ, with his family and four dogs.

For more information, contact Joe Dwyer at


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