Friday, 17 November 2017

Honouring The Pups Who Help

With Remembrance Day and Veterans Days having passed, it's always hard to imagine some of the struggles that some face after their tours of duty. Veterans see and live through the atrocities of war, and some suffer from impairments and stresses that we, in our regular five-day-a-week cycle, never would imagine facing. Charlie, the black lab above, is one of the dogs that works to help soldiers ease back into normal life by being a companion and offering a little extra help to the soldiers who return with impairments or stresses.

The New York Islanders welcomed Charlie to Barclays Center tonight to drop the ceremonial puck prior to their game against the Carolina Hurricanes. I think this is an outstanding initiative by the Islanders as we often take service animals for granted in terms of the role they play in the lives of those who need them. Charlie is a member of VetDogs which "is a program that provides trained service dogs to United States military veterans who could use a little extra help in day-to-day life. There are dogs specifically trained for veterans who are vision-impaired, hearing-impaired or those who may be suffering from post-traumatic streess disorder."

Quite honestly, that's incredible.

Joined by his trainers and two Army veterans from Fort Bragg, Charlie made his way to center ice and dropped the puck between Islanders captain John Tavares and Hurricanes captain Justin Faulk.
That's awesome, and it's great to see Charlie and VetDogs being honoured by the Islanders. Far too often, we don't hear about the challenges that soldiers face when returning from duty, especially if they have suffered some sort of trauma or injury, so getting a companion that can help them work through the difficulties of everyday life while coping with this trauma is vitally important. VetDogs is doing an outstanding job in helping the returning officers.

One of the benefits that VetDogs may not be promoting is that people who own dogs not only live longer, but have better cardiovascular health. While the science in that study only looked at Swedish people, I can't imagine people with dogs not being happier with a loyal companion nearby.

Charlie appears to be on his way to being a fantastic companion and aid to a service member who will return from action in the future. VetDogs is doing an amazing job, and I'm glad to see an organization helping those who do so much to help others.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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