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PTSD Victims Include Military Dogs, Too

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sabra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-03-10 10:19 AM
Original message
PTSD Victims Include Military Dogs, Too
Source: CBS News/AP

Service Animals Return from War Traumatized from Explosions, Difficult Conditions; But Label Spurs Controversy

(AP) Gina was a playful 2-year-old German shepherd when she went to Iraq as a highly trained bomb-sniffing dog with the military, conducting door-to-door searches and witnessing all sorts of noisy explosions.

She returned home to Colorado cowering and fearful. When her handlers tried to take her into a building, she would stiffen her legs and resist. Once inside, she would tuck her tail beneath her body and slink along the floor. She would hide under furniture or in a corner to avoid people.

A military veterinarian diagnosed with her post-traumatic stress disorder - a condition that experts say can afflict dogs just like it does humans.

"She showed all the symptoms and she had all the signs," said Master Sgt. Eric Haynes, the kennel master at Peterson Air Force Base. "She was terrified of everybody and it was obviously a condition that led her down that road."

...

PTSD is well-documented among American servicemen and women returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but its existence in animals is less clear-cut. Some veterinarians say animals do experience it, or a version of it.

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/08/03/national/main...
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-03-10 10:26 AM
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1. Good girl Gina - may it be a better road. Nt
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Kweli4Real Donating Member (792 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-03-10 10:49 AM
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2. And I can just imagine all the keyboard cowboys ...
Saying who cares? These animals are only animals.
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crikkett Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-03-10 10:57 AM
Response to Original message
3. NoooO! Not the dogs too!
:cry:
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superconnected Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-03-10 11:03 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. She's recovering well. It's a good story.
Go Gina!
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Bigmack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-03-10 11:04 AM
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5. So many mixed feelings...
about this. Sending dogs into a situation that makes them this neurotic is animal cruelty. Yet we do it to thousands of our own people.... and for the kind of crass goals we seem to have for our wars of late.

In Vietnam, they just put the dogs down after service. I've had vets tell me that they wish the government would have done that to them... as a kindness.

"Nearly 4000 dogs served in Vietnam and saved up to 10,000 American servicemen through their scouting and sentry duties. When withdrawing from Vietnam in 1973, the military classified the dogs as surplus equipment to be left behind during evacuation. Many dogs were left with South Vietnamese allies who were afraid of the dogs and didn't know how to handle them. Many of the dogs were euthanized, and many more perished at the hands of their inexperienced South Vietnamese handlers. Only a handful of Vietnam war dogs made it back to the United States. Many handlers and trainers who worked with these dogs were traumatized by having to leave their faithful companions behind, stating that the dogs saved their lives and often did more work than they did.

Relegated to the status of military equipment rather than personnel, dogs in the U.S. military were drafted for life and were euthanized once they are deemed infirm and incapable of continuing their jobs. The military claimed that these dogs were incapable of being retired to civilian life, despite the fact that police dogs, which receive identical training, are successfully and peacefully retired to loving homes and families upon retirement. As a result of the past indifference shown toward war dogs, many of their accomplishments have been unjustly forgotten, or at best, relegated to the status of "trivia" by war buffs. Many of the records of war dogs and their handlers have been lost or destroyed, and the public remained largely unaware of the contribution by dogs in the armed forces. The military as since changed their policy due to overwhelming protests from both the public and the dog handlers themselves. Military dogs are now returned to the U.S. and are no longer euthanized, but instead are given to their handlers when they are retired. They can then live out their remaining years in the peace and comfort of a loving home."

http://www.eagleid.com/veterans/dogs.htm
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hamsterjill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-03-10 11:04 AM
Response to Original message
6. Glad to see steps are being taken to help Gina rehabilitate!
She served her country, and she deserves to be given the opportunity to mend as do all soldiers, both two-legged and four-legged. I'm happy to see that she wasn't euthanized as an easy solution.

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glinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-03-10 03:10 PM
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7. I am surprised that anyone would think it otherwise for animals.
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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-03-10 03:34 PM
Response to Original message
8. Duplicate Subject, posted 9:32 am today, thjrough not a CBS story at that time
Edited on Tue Aug-03-10 03:38 PM by happyslug
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Here is a picture of Gina, the dog with PTSD:
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-03-10 04:39 PM
Response to Original message
9. They just figured this out?
Anyone in animal rescue could have told them.
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DBoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-03-10 10:52 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. a lot of pit bulls rescued from fighting suffer from this
the poor animals are completely terrorized - they shake with fear at the slightest provocation
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