Over and above the specific tasks they may be trained for, there are numerous benefits to having a canine companion for service or emotional support. They include, but are not limited to:
Dogs provide non-judgmental attention and comfort. They just want to give and receive love. They don’t care about disabilities, or what’s happened in the past.
Dogs need care and attention every day. This provides the veteran with a reason to get out of bed in the morning. It may also help to keep the owner active through walks outside the home.
Dogs provide an emotional connection. Combat can cause veterans to withdraw emotionally in order to deal with the experiences forced upon them. This disconnect doesn’t just reverse itself automatically when they return home. A canine companion can be the first step in reconnecting to life and family, because they depend on the owner for love and attention.
Dogs provide a distraction from emotional distress. It’s hard to lose yourself in bad thoughts when your dog is demanding attention or food.
Dogs make a great battle buddy. Everyone needs someone to “watch their back” on occasion. A service or emotional support dog can help lessen anxiety by providing a watchful companion. Whether it’s about going out in public or getting a good night’s sleep, with a dog by your side, you are never alone.