by Robert Grubbs, Service Dog advocate AND KNOWLEDGEABLE VETERAN
Purpose Driven Dogs
Copyright 2017 © Robert Grubbs.
A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability. Service dogs are working animals, not pets.
Bob (on his recumbent bike) and his service dog, Scout.
Some of the tasks my service dog can perform for me are:
As a Vietnam veteran I experienced a traumatic jeep accident during my military experience in Vietnam - fracturing my back. I was also exposed to Agent Orange, leading to multiple ongoing health problems. I suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for many years before finally admitting to this illness and seeking help.
Scout, a German Shepard dog, began his life January 11, 2015, and quickly became a star service dog in training with Soldier On Service Dogs, Inc. After almost one year learning basic service dog training from his puppy raiser, he graduated to advance service dog training for six months of intense training and then was paired with me for an additional six months of team training. Training for Scout and me is now a constant and fun filled adventure.
July 1, 2015, became a momentous date for me because, as a disabled Vietnam Veteran, I was introduced to the benefits of a service dog for veterans with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which I would like to be known as PTSI or Post Traumatic Stress Injury) and other service connected injuries and my purpose, to increase the awareness and benefits of service dog, became clear to me.
PTSD is an injury that causes physical changes in the brain AND body, resulting in changing the way the brain works.
PTSD is an important health condition estimated to occur in 3-6% of veterans with no deployment experience and in 5-25% of those who have been deployed to combat zones.
The majority of those with PTSD go undiagnosed and do not receive treatment for this condition. There are many reasons for this, including stigma, other barriers to care, and negative perceptions of mental health care.