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After Duty, Dogs Suffer Like Soldiers
New York Times ^ | 1 December 2011 | James Dao

Posted on 12/02/2011 4:41:24 AM PST by Racehorse

The call came into the behavior specialists here from a doctor in Afghanistan. His patient had just been through a firefight and now was cowering under a cot, refusing to come out.

Apparently even the chew toys hadn’t worked.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, thought Dr. Walter F. Burghardt Jr., chief of behavioral medicine at the Daniel E. Holland Military Working Dog Hospital at Lackland Air Force Base. Specifically, canine PTSD.

If anyone needed evidence of the frontline role played by dogs in war these days, here is the latest: the four-legged, wet-nosed troops used to sniff out mines, track down enemy fighters and clear buildings are struggling with the mental strains of combat nearly as much as their human counterparts.

By some estimates, more than 5 percent of the approximately 650 military dogs deployed by American combat forces are developing canine PTSD. Of those, about half are likely to be retired from service, Dr. Burghardt said.

Though veterinarians have long diagnosed behavioral problems in animals, the concept of canine PTSD is only about 18 months old, and still being debated. But it has gained vogue among military veterinarians, who have been seeing patterns of troubling behavior among dogs exposed to explosions, gunfire and other combat-related violence in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Like humans with the analogous disorder, different dogs show different symptoms. Some become hyper-vigilant. Others avoid buildings or work areas that they had previously been comfortable in. Some undergo sharp changes in temperament, becoming unusually aggressive with their handlers, or clingy and timid. Most crucially, many stop doing the tasks they were trained to perform.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: dog; doggieping; dogs; military; ptsd; war

1 posted on 12/02/2011 4:41:30 AM PST by Racehorse
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To: Racehorse; Joe 6-pack

War dog ping.


2 posted on 12/02/2011 4:43:20 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: Racehorse

3 posted on 12/02/2011 4:45:00 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: AnAmericanMother; Titan Magroyne; Badeye; Shannon; SandRat; arbooz; potlatch; ...
WOOOF!

The Doggie Ping list is for FReepers who would like to be notified of threads relating to all things canid. If you would like to join the Doggie Ping Pack (or be unleashed from it), FReemail me.

4 posted on 12/02/2011 4:49:39 AM PST by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Racehorse

Having seen how some dogs can panic at the sound of gunfire or thunder I can well imagine how some of these dogs behave.


5 posted on 12/02/2011 4:50:13 AM PST by RipSawyer (This does not end well!)
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To: Racehorse

Tell your Congressman to vote them all a nice disability pension.


6 posted on 12/02/2011 4:56:28 AM PST by izzatzo ( Anybody but Obamney and Huntsman. Cain looks better and better.)
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To: Joe 6-pack

Thanks for teaching me somthing new today!


7 posted on 12/02/2011 4:59:57 AM PST by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: Racehorse

“If you want to put doggy thoughts into their heads,” he said, “the dog is thinking: when I see this kind of individual, things go boom, and I’m distressed.”

That’s a pretty good assessment of all koranimals.


8 posted on 12/02/2011 5:02:21 AM PST by bayouranger (The 1st victim of islam is the person who practices the lie.)
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To: Racehorse; Joe 6-pack

I like the last sentence in the article where the vet says, “Dogs never forget.”


9 posted on 12/02/2011 5:10:39 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

What a gorgeous picture.


10 posted on 12/02/2011 5:15:15 AM PST by proud American in Canada (Go, Herman! Your country needs you!)
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To: Joe 6-pack

When Dogs were used to find survivors in the OKC Bombing, it rapidly became evident that there were only dead bodies to be found. The dogs became visibly depressed when there were no “Live Rescues” The handlers had to stage at least one live rescue at the end of the day, so the dogs could go to sleep at night and resume work the next day. The same thing happened at the World Trade Center.


11 posted on 12/02/2011 5:18:15 AM PST by left that other site (Psalm 122:6)
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To: proud American in Canada

I thought so too.


12 posted on 12/02/2011 5:18:59 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Your picture has so much raw emotion in it. So much intensity. Thank you for posting it, afraidfortherepublic.


13 posted on 12/02/2011 5:20:07 AM PST by momtothree
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To: Joe 6-pack; Racehorse

Joe, would you please put me on the doggie ping list?

We adopted our dog from a shelter—she’d been rescued from a man in Montreal who was a hoarder and had thirty dogs. When we got her, she was so terrified—if we came anywhere near her food bowl, she would run away. She was so undernourished she had no fur on her belly.

Well, she’s fine now, she eats well :). But anything new, like going to the vet or even riding in the car, she trembles.

Dogs are amazing companions and I’m sure they bring comfort to the troops, but of course, with their intelligence, they must also be at risk of being traumatized.


14 posted on 12/02/2011 5:21:50 AM PST by proud American in Canada (Go, Herman! Your country needs you!)
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To: LadyBuck

ping


15 posted on 12/02/2011 5:22:31 AM PST by algernonpj (He who pays the piper . . .)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

That picture so emotional; you can see the connection.

They had an episode of Pet Heroes (on Canadian Discovery Channel)—in WWII, there was a dog who was adopted by a contingent of soldiers; he quickly learned what grenades were—watching the men throw them as far away as possible (when the grenades were thrown at them).

During one firefight, the soldiers were injured and another grenade was thrown at them. But they were incapacitated and couldn’t reach it.

So the dog—I think his name was Boomer?—grabbed the grenade in his mouth and ran as far away as he could before it exploded.

He received a post-humous (hope I spelled that right) award from the military.

Dogs must bring the troops great comfort.


16 posted on 12/02/2011 5:29:29 AM PST by proud American in Canada (Go, Herman! Your country needs you!)
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To: Racehorse
Here's a story about Gunner, who was diagnosed with doggie PTSD and found a new home with Deb and Dan Dunham, whose Marine son died in Iraq protecting the men beside him.

With patience, a rubber toy, and the help of their yellow lab Ziggy, the Dunhams are trying to coax Gunner back to emotional health.


17 posted on 12/02/2011 5:52:26 AM PST by algernonpj (He who pays the piper . . .)
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To: algernonpj
One of my 3 dogs is a rescued 107 pound part ridgeback part german shepherd? who was found taped up in a box in the woods with another dog and left to die. When we needed a companion for our 127 pound lab blueheeler mix because she chewed through a chain link fence in a thunderstorm we got Chief. Chief had been in a rescue facility for nearly a year, it's harder to adopt out big dogs. He is an awesome animal but definitely shy. I expect his rough early years are still with him. He is very protective of my wife though, and has a bark that he uses infrequently but to good effect. The thing with dogs is that they have learned over centuries of living with people, who to trust and who not to. Any of these war dogs with PTSD can benefit from a loving home, you just need to be attentive to there needs. As far as thunder goes, Chief benefits from a device that wraps around his body like a tight blanket, apparently it gives him a secure feeling because he is definitely less nervous when it's on him. Otherwise he'll hide in a corner if it's thundering. Anyway good luck and best wishes to the Dunhams, patience, patience, patience.
18 posted on 12/02/2011 6:37:26 AM PST by dblshot (Insanity: electing the same people over and over and expecting different results.)
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To: Racehorse

Now people are worrying about dog PTSD, but when human combat veterans suffer from PTSD and fall into addictions or despair they’re called bums.


19 posted on 12/02/2011 6:51:21 AM PST by Talisker (History will show the Illuminati won the ultimate Darwin Award.)
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To: dblshot
Regarding the device that resemble a tight blanket, it sounds like an off shot of the 'squeeze machine' devised by Temple Grandin, a woman with autism.

Temple Grandin
20 posted on 12/02/2011 8:36:26 AM PST by algernonpj (andin Web Site</a>)
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To: Talisker; Racehorse
Now people are worrying about dog PTSD, but when human combat veterans suffer from PTSD and fall into addictions or despair they’re called bums.

Caring for dogs and caring for humans are not mutually exclusive.

Link to the sort in post 17 and you will sell that Deb Dunham has experienced:
"Hundreds of military visitors have appeared at the Dunhams' door since Jason's death, some of them still crippled by their own combat experiences.

Both of the men that Jason saved struggled with the fact that their friend had died to save them. One wrestled with alcohol and drunk driving. The other ended up so disabled by PTSD and traumatic brain injury that the Marines discharged him."

"Both men grew close to the Dunhams and rely on Deb for motherly advice when they go astray."
21 posted on 12/02/2011 8:46:39 AM PST by algernonpj (andin Web Site</a>)
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To: dblshot

Patience is key (along with major amounts of daily exercise and training)....but always patience....

Our 3 shepherds are all rescues, and all came with their own “emotional baggage”. The oldest is 14 and she still has “issues”.

What is strange to me is that these folks are just now figuring out that these battlefield traumas have an effect on the participating dogs. Anyone who has adopted an abused or neglected dog knows exactly what I mean - different circumstances, same kind of problems.


22 posted on 12/02/2011 10:30:41 AM PST by LadyBuck (In the immortal words of Jean Paul Sartre, 'Au revoir, gopher')
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To: algernonpj

Thanks, algernompj, for the link.

Rather an interesting story, not just for this war dog story, nor just for the family of a fallen Marine.

Makes me wonder, does the Lackland AFB animal hospital have a kind of mutual healing program for both our soldiers and canine veterans?

One of our two adopted dogs/companions was a four year old mixed breed Dauchund/some kind of hound. Mildly curious how that sexual feat was accomplished, considering BJ’s size (previous owner named him).

When we adopted him one thing nobody could do, except me for some reason, was touch his hind quarters. He’d snarl and snap at anybody who touched him there.

Over the first few years he grew to tolerate others touching him, but only two years ago did we learn why he did not want to be touched.

The poor guy has arthritis. It hurt to be touched.

Our vet has provided medication which has pretty much worked.

But the sound of thunder . . . an occasional event in San Antonio . . . sends him into extreme distress. But then, so does my occasional hard coughing or sneezing. He’ll instantly get up and leave the room. Otherwise, this guy never lets me out of his sight.

R.


23 posted on 12/02/2011 10:56:00 AM PST by Racehorse (Always preach the Gospel . . . . Use words if necessary.)
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To: algernonpj

.


24 posted on 12/02/2011 11:18:36 AM PST by algernonpj (He who pays the piper . . .)
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To: algernonpj

I hadn’t thought of that but maybe so. This thing is a stretch fabric that hooks up with velcro kind of like a horse blanket but tighter.


25 posted on 12/02/2011 11:46:51 AM PST by dblshot (Insanity: electing the same people over and over and expecting different results.)
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To: Racehorse; USMCWife6869; Indy Pendance; Still German Shepherd; dervish; Kozak; Joe 6-pack; ...
GERMAN SHEPHERD PING LIST

Flora Berkemeyer

This is a low-volume list………so don’t worry!

(Please Freep-mail me if you’d like to be on or off the list.)

26 posted on 12/02/2011 6:33:41 PM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: the OlLine Rebel; Racehorse

Thanks for the ping, the OlLine Rebel.

No doubt our canine companions suffer. The loyalty and love doesn’t come for free.


27 posted on 12/02/2011 9:07:26 PM PST by Gene Eric (Save a pretzel for the gas jets.)
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To: RipSawyer
We've had 3 German shepherds dogs in our family, two rescues. They are the best dogs for our family. I can state, as they age, their emotions change. Right now, we have only one, a 13 year old (blue collar, pic below), and I swear, he's got Alzheimer's, or dementia, or hearing loss. Our original puppy (red collar in the pic below), she died last year at 12, suffered from memory loss. She had hip trouble and other issues. Such smart dogs losing their key ability is sad. But, GSD's are fabulous pets.

I'd recommend families without young kids. We LOVE our German Shephards! They bark at anyone intruding on they're space. USP, FED Ex, all of them. They are loyal to their families, their yards, and their space.

Here we are with our new dog back in 2007, he's our last dog right now!

I think we'll take a dog break after this guy ends up with our others. It's so hard having to put down your buddies.

It's so fun letting him go wild on the 23 turkey flock in our backyard! Watching him do his "patroling", all of it.

Our third dog, it's a tough decision. We'll work it out.

28 posted on 12/03/2011 10:28:47 PM PST by Indy Pendance
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