Friday, November 7, 2014

Paws and Stripes: A Dog for Every Vet

Next Tuesday, Nov 11, a new show premieres on A&E. It’s called Dogs of War, and you can watch a trailer here: HERE.
 I was invited to preview the first episode and tell you what I think. When I stop crying, I’m sure it will be easier to type.
Combat Vet Jim Stanek struggles with PTSD. He wanted to get a service dog, but it was expensive and the wait was long. But sometimes those challenges are the things that make miracles happen, and as he waited for his service dog, Stanek realized that there are lots of dogs in shelters – waiting for a home, waiting to be trained, waiting to love a vet.  “Dogs of War” tells the stories of the dogs that get rescued from kill shelters and once trained to serve are paired with Vets who, like Stanek, suffer from PTSD.
This episode tells the story of Michael, an Iraq Vet with multiple physical problems on top of his PTSD, and his dog E Suda (roughly translated as “Got my Back”). We get to see how Vets and dogs are paired, the training that they go through together, and the bonds that they form.
But the vet with PTSD doesn't live in total isolation, and Stanek and the Paws and Stripes help the family adjust too.
Paws and Stripes isn't the answer for every issue that faces our Vets with PTSD, but that 4-legged companion, functioning as a service dog that alerts the vet to increased stress, along with the training that the vet gets on what to do with the alert may just provide the hope that someone needs.
As veterans we volunteer to serve, and sometimes the price we pay for volunteering is higher than anyone could imagine.
Paws and Stripes serves 2 purposes. Dogs are saved from kill shelters and put to work. Vets get a second chance to bring home the piece of themselves that they left on the battle field.
More than just about a dog, it’s about giving a hero the opportunity to live the life he deserves.
This is reality TV that is actually reality.
Watch the series premier Tuesday, and then tune in on Sundays for further episodes.

For more about Paws and Stripes visit Dogs of War .  

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