A dog is a man's best friend, and for veterans home from war who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), a dog just might be a life saver as well.
Angie Pratt, founder of Soldier ON Service Dogs (SOSD), is well acquainted with the benefits injured veterans receive from service dog companions. After a close relative, a marine bomb technician, was injured in Afghanistan and began experiencing the effects of PTSD and TBI, Pratt began researching treatments. She discovered that a service dog could be a great benefit, but there were no service dog organizations in the area. She founded SOSD as a 501(c)(3) organization in September 2014 and set to work providing trained service dogs to local veterans suffering from PTSD and/or TBI at no charge to the veteran.
"People may think they don't know someone with PTSD, Pratt says, "and I'm here to tell - you do. You just may not know it."
SOSD estimates that nearly 1,000 of the 14,000 veterans in Northwest Arkansas who have PTSD and/or TBI would benefit from having a service dog. Service dogs detect seizures, disrupt nightmares, call 911, reduce the need for medication, mitigate anxiety, reduce stress, and even save lives.