Helping So Many Veterans and Celebrating Dogs

Helping So Many Veterans and Celebrating Dogs - Goats Trail Off-Road Apparel Company

Our canine pals are deserving of recognition for always being there for us. We celebrate National Hug Your Dog Day, also known as National Hug Your Hound Day in the United Kingdom because of the loyalty and love these amazing animals give every day.

Ami Moore, a Chicago-based canine behaviorist, founded the holiday, which is honored on April 10. This day is devoted to honoring your relationship with your dog. 

National Hug Your Dog Day is about actually watching your dog (from their point of view) in their habitat and daily life and seeing the world as your dog sees it for just one day.  

Remember that today is about keeping our dogs healthy, happy, and safe at home and in our hearts. Perhaps this blog may be convincing enough to awaken the dog lover in you! 

One of the best ways to express your affection for your dog is with a good old-fashioned hug. A hug is also good for you! A hug may help to alleviate tension and produce the "feel good" hormone oxytocin.  This may also slow heart rates and boost dopamine release, which can help with sadness and pain. 

A simple hug is a nonverbal method to communicate affection for your dog, and it has several advantages, including: 

  • When you hug your dog, the brain releases oxytocin, a hormone linked with love, connection, and trust in both people and dogs. 
  • Hugging your dog conveys unconditional affection and intimacy to both of you. 
  • Hugging your dog is relaxing and stress-relieving. 
  • Hugging your dog shows them how much you value their devotion and affection. 

When it comes to depression and showing love and affection, these cute little pals have been instrumental with our veterans as well. 

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PAWS Act and how its helps Veterans 

The PAWS Act of 2021, which stands for Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers, was enacted by Congress in August 2021. It will enable the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide funds for veterans suffering from PTSD to acquire a service dog. 

A growing amount of research on PTSD and service animals helped this bill be signed into law. PAWS ACT (Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers) for Veterans Therapy Act into law came to fruition in August of 2021. 

The legislation requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to open its service dog referral program to veterans who have PTSD and launch a five-year pilot program in which veterans suffering from PTSD assist in training service dogs for other veterans. 

Ronald Hudgens, a veteran who served as a U.S. Marine in Vietnam, believes this law has the potential to change the lives of veterans like him. Hudgens suffers from PTSD and acquired his service dog Chesty from America's VetDogs in January. 

Severe trauma, combat violence, and brain injuries are just a few of the things that place military members at a higher risk of developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.  

Flashbacks to the traumatic experience, acute anxiety, nightmares, and hypervigilance are among the symptoms. According to psychologists, such symptoms are a typical response to experiencing or witnessing such violence.  When symptoms worsen or last for months or years, PTSD is diagnosed. 

According to Dr. Katrice Byrd, a certified social worker, and a mental health counselor, service dogs may aid with anxiety and can be relaxing for someone suffering from PTSD. Providing an opportunity for veterans to have this extra support can help significantly elevate PTSD symptoms.

Hudgens claims Chesty assists him daily. "He's fantastic; he's a God-sent gift to me," Hudgens remarked.  "He has assisted me in overcoming my nervousness and dread of stepping out in public. He'll step in front of me and obstruct my path. He detects any worry or sadness in me if I have nightmares." 

Advocates, K9s for Warriors, and another group called Canine Companions have lobbied the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for assistance in giving additional service dogs to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.  

The PAWS ACT mandates the VA to launch a pilot program that offers canine training to qualified veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as of January 1, 2022. This legislation plugs a substantial gap in the treatment of an invisible impairment. 



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