“Come again, you guys are needed!”
“This interaction really helps me. After the last therapy dog visits, I felt really good. The pain in my leg subsided, gloomy thoughts went away. I came again today to receive the same positive effect from the dogs. It seems to me that the dog just pulls all the negativity out from me, and I feel better physically and psychologically! Come again, you guys are needed!” said Petro, one of the veterans.
We visited the veterans at the Saksahanskoho health centre again. The guys were really happy to meet us, and despite the cold weather came out from their dorms and didn’t let us go for a while!
“The dogs’ participation in group and individual therapy sessions helped to partially relieve stress and create a trusting atmosphere”
The non-profit organization “Blakytnyy Ptakh” organized a psychological rehabilitation session in October 2016 for people who former prisoners of war. Hero’s Companion therapy dogs and their handlers were invited to assist during this two day session. As soon as participants entered the dog handlers began to work (and didn’t stop!). The therapy dogs were near the participants the entire time. The dogs always accompanied the participants during their walks, and when the dogs went to rest a few participants were always waiting behind and asked when the dogs would return to them. Everyone was interested in communication with the four-legged therapists Chief and Elya.
The dogs came to the participants, one by one, during the group sessions, and people were very pleased to interact with them. Chief worked with more active people, played with them, hugged them. Elya sympathized with those who were more calm and shy, gently coming to them, and they seemed kindred after few minutes with her.
The psychologists were watching the therapy dogs enthusiastically. They told us that the dogs helped them to know the mood in the group during the session. “The dogs’ participation in group and individual therapy sessions helped to partially relieve stress and create a trusting atmosphere. An injured person who often has issues with an adaptation to society, loses his or her trust in humanity and can’t contact other people. In such kind of cases dogs can help to initiate safe contact. In my opinion the participation of dogs in psychological sessions with people affected by the war has a positive effect” – said Tetyana Sirenko, a psychologist who led the session.
Veteran with PTSD finds dog therapy beats medication
“It kind of snaps you out of whatever you’re feeling and you have this kind of cute, giant dog in your lap so how can you be mad at that?” says Miron, who lives in Hamilton, Ont.
The Canadian veteran has endured a five-year road to recovery that has included therapy and numerous medications. But the 31-year-old says his biggest saviour has been his service dog.
“Out of everything I’ve gone through and done, the dog has probably helped the most,” he says.
A story written about the Ukrainian Sich Battalion saving an abused dog on the frontlines in eastern Ukraine
Boys, you – are the best!
At our position in Pisky we happened upon a German Shepherd. Sullied by vandals, hungry, traumatized. The fire for life was gone from her weary eyes. The troops shared their rations with her, and took care of her. They named her Alice, for she had lost almost all of her hearing and spent the whole time in her world of silence, reliving the experiences in her mind, like Alice in Wonderland. Every time a car would drive into Pisky she ran to it, as if she knew that it was her only hope to escape from this place of war, where there were no gun shots, explosions, or painful memories of her experiences…. They took her, though not immediately; the car had been loaded up completely, smelled of spilled diesel, the engine heavily backfiring. But they took her. Now, Alice is safe. They cut the offensive inscriptions from her fur, and they bathed her and gave her warmth… Now she faithfully walks alongside her rescuers; she has recovered and a spark has reappeared in her eyes.