Rescue for PTSD Helping to Train Service Dogs for Veterans at Tomball VFW

With the large number of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and the number of dogs left in shelters, one group is helping Tomball veterans make a living easier by helping them train shelter dogs to be service animals.

The Rescue for PTSD is a non-profit organization that works with veterans to train dogs to help them cope with PTSD and make them more independent. Recently they have started to organize their monthly group lessons at Tomball VFW, 14408 Alice Road. The next training session will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on July 31.

Laura Murray, founder and CEO of Rescue for PTSD, said they have dozens of veterans on waiting lists to receive trained dogs. duration of about three and a half hours. Veterans bring their own dogs or one is provided to them, all free of charge.

“We start from puppies and dogs that know nothing and we make them work through all skills,” Murray said. “If we train the dogs when they become puppies, a year later they are fully trained. “

The group specializes in helping veterans with PTSD, she said, so dogs learn skills like deep pressure therapy. When a veteran has an anxiety attack, the dog jumps up so that his front paws are on his knees, and the pressure has been shown to release endorphins to calm him down. They are also taught other commands to keep their owner in public to give them space in relation to other people. They are also taught to wake up their masters if they suffer from night terrors.

Dogs can also help if a veteran suffers from a medical issue, she said. They are taught a medical alert, where they start barking until someone comes to the veteran’s aid. Dogs are also taught to help veterans stand and walk.

Murray was not a veteran herself, but said her father and grandfather were.

“I always had dogs growing up and my dad’s best friend was a hound trainer, so I kind of grew up with hounds,” Murray said. “I just have a talent.”

Murray said she had several friends who were veterans and started researching assistance dog training methods on YouTube before deciding to see if she could do it on her own.

“We just don’t do enough for our veterans when they come home and so many groups are doing it and they charge so much,” she said. “Everything we do is 100% free for vets. We are all volunteers; we rely on grants and donations.

In addition to assisting in training, dogs are fully vaccinated, spayed and neutered. Veterans also receive beds, leashes, collars and water bowls at no cost to their dogs.

Since the organization was formed in late 2017, Murray said they have fully trained and paired eight dogs with veterans and currently have 27 veterans in their group program.

“Even though we help one dog and one veteran per year, it’s a dog that doesn’t get euthanized and a veteran that lives a better life,” Murray said.

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