BRECKSVILLE, Oh. — Man’s best friend often provides comfort and consolation to people. Now, dogs are making good companions for Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
Frank Delorenzo is a Veteran of the war in Iraq. His dog Sophie helps him deal with brain injuries as well as PTSD.
“At seven o’clock, Sophie eats in the morning, then I take my medication,” Delorenzo said. “If I double feed her, she won’t touch the second bowl so I already know I’ve taken my medication.”
Frank and his wife Jen started Wags 4 Warriors. The non-profit organization aims to help war Veterans cope with every day life. The service dogs are a big part of helping Veterans adjust.
“We currently have 30-40 dogs and Veterans in the program that are receiving the training,” Delorenzo said. “We do it at no cost to the Veteran.”
Ashley Beadle was paired with Keaton after discovering Wags 4 Warriors.
“He wakes me up from nightmares and he makes me more comfortable when I do sleep,” Keaton said. “And if we’re in Walmart, and I forgot to take my medication, he starts barking.”
Beadle served in the Air Force. After her medical discharge in 2008, she had a hard time adjusting to home life.
Most of the dogs involved in the program are rescue dogs. Veterans must qualify for the program before they are assigned a dog.
The Delorenzos say nothing makes them happier than to see a struggling war Vet start to turn their life around.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel there so the veterans all see it,” Delorenzo said. “Now, they’ve got someone walking next to them at all times so their anxiety levels can slow down and they can start to enjoy life and their families again.”
To learn more about the program, click here.