Veterans Suffering From PTSD Use Wolfdogs As New Form Of Therapy

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The transition from the military back to civilian life has proven to be difficult for some veterans, and many of them suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

There are many different options, such as counseling or treatment, that can help people manage their symptoms and prevent them from worsening.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has nearly 200 PTSD treatment programs across the country that offer mental health assessments, medicine, psychotherapy, family and group therapy, among many other types.

As we learn more about PTSD and how to help veterans and others cope with it, organizations all over the nation are developing new programs and therapies. The newest is a program called “Heroes and Hybrids” at Mattersville, which helps veterans and others positively cope with PTSD through the use of wolf-dogs.

“Since working with animals can be extremely healing, the program is designed to integrate the lives of our veterans and our wolf-dogs to drive their mutual relationships toward something we call Pack Healing,” the website states.

Wolves are a lot like veterans in the sense of starting with a pack or unit which leads to comrardery, Drew Robertson, the Executive Director of Mattersville and Pack 22 explains. Veterans identify with this pack element for so long, but suddenly lose it once they are discharged.

Bonding with wolf-dogs face-to-face helps veterans feel the acceptance from them into their pack and is a whole new level of therapy. As of now, there are ten wolves but more are expected to arrive soon.

Pack 22 began in Colorado but has since expanded to other states, with its newest being Wisconsin. The new location is a farm in Gleason off Town Hall Road. They’re currently looking for veterans, as well as civilians, who would like to be part of this experience through the Heroes and Hybrids program or volunteering. The veterans stay on the farm, caring for the animals.

The property owner in Gleason has been pushing for a program like this in the area for a long time now. It hits close to home for her since both of her parents suffered from PTSD, and her father sadly committed suicide because of it in 2006. She has now partnered with Robertson to get this program started in Wisconsin.

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