Our organization was founded in 2010. Family, friends, and supporters worked tirelessly to build this organization, and we are honored to continue the mission as ‘Blue Star Service Dogs’. The transition to Blue Star Service Dogs in 2019 honors all Combat Veterans and their families that serve our country with them. Many Veterans are still ‘In Combat’ with invisible wounds after discharge. By pairing them with their service dog and proper training, we support them in their challenge to come "all the way home".
There are reports on the effects of invisible wounds as a result of combat in every era, every conflict. Whether they were "Shell Shocked", "Combat Fatigued", or just "Not the Same Since the War", the challenges have spanned generations by those who have served our country.
Today, there are innovative and creative treatments for these men and women veterans. Service Dog studies are showing the benefits to individuals with PTSD reducing depression symptoms by 82%. This ripple effect creates decreased needs for medication, increased community integration, and increased quality of life with a sense of purpose. The ripple effect of a service dog continues to family, friends, employers, and community of each recipient.
Over time, we hear our graduate Veterans talking about "dropping the leash" and doing more activities without their service dogs working for them. This increased confidence and functionality is what any service provider is looking for in a Veteran demonstrating anxiety or depression symptoms. Service Dogs can be the perfect addition to support any medical treatment plan, but just because it is a simple idea it doesn’t mean it is an easy or quick process done correctly.
Although common sense may be the strongest factors that support service dog training and treatment, the effectiveness of Service Dogs as a treatment tool for PTSD or TBI has not had the same research data as other clinical methods. The following article outlines some of the ‘hot topics’ surrounding support and criticism around Service Dogs in the treatment of PTSD. https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2018/Q4/research-shows-how-service-dogs-can-help-veterans-with-ptsd.html
Our program's focus is on the veteran. This process is about training their service dogs over a year long to increase the bond between veteran and service dog as well as the confidence to utilize this rehabilitative tool over time.