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The Healing Power of Animals

Animals have the power to heal us, comfort us, guide us, protect us, and defend us. Those who have service animals know all too well, the value that animals come to us with.  These animals are companions, but they are also guides and protectors. They should never be looked at as simply a pet because they become part of your "pack", part of your "unit", even if that unit is just the two of you.

While in Arizona some weeks back I visited a wolf sanctuary in Rimrock, Arizona that just stole my heart. The wolves there were so affectionate and greeted me much like the PTSD service dog I've spent a little time with. Jhertoma jumped up and put his paws on my shoulders, stared at me and then licked me all over my face. I was instantly calm, happy, and feeling very safe.

In the photo here, these are of Kiera. She was so serene and affectionate. I could have sat with her all day. The sense of present moment awareness is what animals have the ability to teach us. They keep us from projecting beyond the moment and just allowing us to be as we are. 

I've heard a few stories lately of veterans with PTSD who have service dogs being mistreated for having a dog for PTSD. Please keep in mind that PTSD is an invisible injury and the veterans I know with these specialized dogs benefit greatly from their presence. Please refrain from instantly judging whether someone is fit to have one of these dogs because that dog may be the very reason that person is able to be in that particular environment at all. Airports, grocery stores, and other crowded locations are hard for people with PTSD and these dogs can help keep someone calm, focused, and at ease so that they can operate in those environments like everyone else. All I ask is that the community at large not rush to judgment when they see someone who looks perfectly healthy and fit on the outside walking with a dog that is ID'd, with a service vest, that says "Do Not Pet".  PTSD is invisible and so is the injury. 

Being supportive of our veterans means respecting their healing process whether it involves support groups, VA appointments, EMDR, tapping, meditation, Reiki, Acupuncture, Yoga, Service Animals, or other. Let's not judge what is needed to help each individual on their path, but applaud them for taking the steps necessary to not hide away.  Many are taking the steps to develop new tools, new levels of awareness, and a healthier way of life, but they need to know they won't be judged or ridiculed for the choices they are making to heal. Consider your approach when talking to veterans, whether they are in your own family, your neighbors, your friends, or someone you meet on your way through life everyday. Sometimes what seems like a joke to one person leaves a lasting mark on the next decision a veteran makes in their healing process. Let's keep them open, not shut them down. Support our veterans and if you have questions, seek the answer, don't rush to judgment. 

1 Comment to The Healing Power of Animals:

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Online essay on Monday, June 13, 2016 1:06 AM
Nice post.Thanks for sharing this post. This is very good.
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