Just weeks after Chris Goehner, 25, an Iraq war veteran, got a dog, he was able to cut in half the dose of anxiety and sleep medications he took for post-traumatic stress disorder. The night terrors and suicidal thoughts that kept him awake for days on end ceased.
Aaron Ellis, 29, another Iraq veteran with the stress disorder, scrapped his medications entirely soon after getting a dog " and set foot in a grocery store for the first time in three years.
The dogs to whom they credit their improved health are not just pets. Rather, they are psychiatric service dogs specially trained to help traumatized veterans leave the battlefield behind as they reintegrate into society.
Because of stories like these, the federal government, not usually at the forefront of alternative medical treatments, is spending several million dollars to study whether scientific research supports anecdotal reports that the dogs might speed recovery from the psychological wounds of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In dozens of interviews, veterans and their therapists reported drastic reductions in P.T.S.D. symptoms and in reliance on medication after receiving a service dog.
To this atheist, dogs are saints, angels come to better the human race.
We are so lucky that dogs like us.