Friday, September 9, 2011

Help U.S. Soldier bring Companion Dog Home

Amazement and frustration. Those are the sentiments that run deep, collide and lead to this posting. We hope any reader can help.

U.S. Soldiers are caring for stray dogs in battlefield. This is no surprise. For many soldiers it's the only semblance of normalcy or family life because war is anything but a normal and happy routine.

Given the high rate of post-traumatic syndrome that so many soldiers endure upon their return home, bringing the dogs home has shown to be therapeutic. Unfortunately, the military does not officially allow soldiers to "adopt" dogs or pets while serving but those restrictions have been loosely enforced.

The frustration is that the military does not offer any assistance (financial or physical) in bringing the dogs home with the soldier who chooses to adopt the dog after his tour of duty ends. Soldiers have to shoulder the $800 cost for a local courier to take the dog to a shelter and departing city like Kabul. This is a heavy burden on a soldier's military wages. This is the case for Army Sergeant Tim Johannsen who is trying to bring Leonidus, (nicknamed Leo) to his home in Illinois.


Then he must turn to nonprofit organizations like Puppy Rescue Mission that raise funds to help soldiers ship the dogs. It costs $3,500 for kenneling, vaccination and air flight. Anna Marie Connan is the wife of a serviceman who started this nonprofit organization in Colorado.


The dogs can be therapeutic in helping soldiers readjust to civilian life, said Cannan, who started the program after her husband brought a dog home from a deployment in Afghanistan.

She said that if the military made it easier to send dogs home, there would be fewer cases of post-traumatic stress. [Miami Herald]
With the growing number of studies that show the MEDICAL benefits of pet ownership, it is bewildering how factions of society are slow to change rules and laws with regards to pet adoption and ownership in the army and in condo dwellings that prohibit pets. But we are confident the tide is changing as long as we communicate to our legislators that health should always be a priority.

At the very least, shouldn't we do something for these men and women who sacrifice the ultimate price in going to war? They are separated from their families for a total of years, are often emotionally scarred and in need of a support system to reintegrate to family and social life back home. This is not easy. There is nothing easy about war. The scars run deep, often years. A dog, an unconditional friendship is often more therapeutic than a medley of drugs. Please read the entire Miami Article which offers topline results of numerous studies. It's on the second page title:

STUDIES SHOW OWNERS REAP PHYSIOLOGICAL BENEFITS FROM PETS


In the meantime, YOU can help Sgt. Johannsen in bringing Leo to his new home in good ole' USA and not left to die in war torn Afghanistan. His family has created a website to share their story and to collect donations. http://bringleohome.webs.com/leosstory.htm

Also, there are 20 dogs waiting to be shipped from Iraq and Afghanistan. To donate to this worthy effort, visit http://www.thepuppyrescuemission.org/

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