Rescued labradoodle helps Army vet cope with PTSD in ways drugs and therapy could not

Steven S. Harman / The Tennessean

At The Tennessean, there's a beautiful video profile of a young Iraq War veteran who was paired up with Skip, a dog rescued from a shelter, to help with PTSD.

"Before I got Skip about a year ago, I didn't leave my room, and i thought about killing myself every day," Alex Brown says in the interview, as the dog licks his hand.

"I tried every therapy the VA offered, every medicine, and it only got worse. With him, the first night he was with me there was a thunderstorm and he woke me up from a nightmare, and my life hasn't been the same since."

Where would he be without the dog?

"I'd be dead. One hundred percent certain."

More in the accompanying article:

Brown, who lives in Louisville, met the dog through K9s for Warriors, a program that pairs veterans with highly-trained dogs. The canine companions, which mostly come from animal shelters, serve as bodyguard, therapist, and friend to soldiers grappling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The program has a 95 percent success rate, according to Sandi Capra, director of development for K9s for Warriors. Because of what it does for them, the vast majority of its participants have either scaled back pharmaceutical treatment for PTSD or cut it out entirely, she said.
The organization's website is here: Below, another happy team of survivors, paired up by the nonprofit: Chris and Jake.

Notable Replies

  1. Awesome find Xeni! As a rescuer of dogs and also having a PTSD suffering Vietnam Vet in my extended family, I've seen firsthand how my dogs can help put a troubled soul at ease. Thank you.

  2. First, people suck. Why would a labradoodle ever need rescuing? They are near the top of the list of the cutest dogs around. Second, Skip is doing exactly what he was born to do: love. Fully, completely, unconditionally.

  3. hdb says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I'm from Tennessee and we rarely make any kind of national news unless someone does something crazy! I thought it was interesting that what hooked him was that the dog needed help! He started by helping the dog and it ended with each rescuing the other. Very cool.

  4. Gives real meaning to the bumper sticker I've seen for dog rescues: "who saved who?"

  5. I read a book in the ninties—it was a feel-good, pop-sci type of book, though—which claimed that certain wolves and certain anthropoids actually co-evolved into dogs and humans, i.e. we're programmed to understand/have empathy for each other. seems dubious, and naturally it was a borrowed book whose title i don't recall; but hey, that's what i read.

    but my big buddy saved me, i know this for certain.

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