A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Mutts 4 the Military: Veterans receive a four-legged buddy and the dogs get a new home and purpose

Mutts 4 the Military rescues dogs from high-kill shelters and places them where they are needed the most — with veterans and active duty military personnel.

These dogs are vetted, trained, and certified as emotional support companions at no cost to the recipient. We will also help with any future veterinarian bills if needed. It is the organization’s goal to place at least 20 dogs a year with service members.

Mutts 4 The military

A canine companion can drastically change the life of the recipient and there is a dire need for these animals throughout the Bluegrass.

An estimated 31% of troops who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan have a mental health condition, primarily PTSD and depression (RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research). Nearly 1 in 4 active duty members showed signs of a mental health condition. After receiving a companion dog, more than 80% of one study’s respondents diagnosed with PTSD, panic disorder, and depression reported a decrease in the mental health symptoms they experienced. Specifically, more than 84% reported a decrease in symptoms as a result of the canine intervention.

The study also indicated that 40% of the participants stated that they were able to reduce the amount of medication needed to treat their symptoms after being paired with a service dog.

Just weeks after Chris Goehner, 25, an Iraq war veteran, got a dog, he was able to cut in half the dose of anxiety and sleep medications he took for post-traumatic stress disorder. The night terrors and suicidal thoughts that kept him awake for days on end ceased.

For PTSD/TBI a service dog can help a person gauge the safety of their surroundings, allowing them to venture into public places without constantly scanning for snipers, hidden bombs and other dangers lurking in the minds of those with the disorder; learn trust and caring again – and maybe smile for the first time in months.

Aaron Ellis, 29, another Iraq veteran with the stress disorder, scrapped his medications entirely soon after getting a dog — and set foot in a grocery store for the first time in three years.

Mutts 4 The Military

Mutts 4 the Military will not only help improve the quality life of dogs rescued from shelters, but also of the human recipients. “We see this as two problems with one great solution,” says Remy Simpson, Mutts 4 the Military organizer.

Mr. Simpson adds, “In order to make this program a success, we need the support of the community. Please contact us for information about corporate sponsorship opportunities. Donations can be made via our website, or at an upcoming event. Volunteers are always needed and welcomed!”

If you or someone you know is in need of a companion animal, please visit the www.mutts4themilitary.org”>website to submit a request

From Kathy Hendricks, Mutts 4 the Military

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