EXCLUSIVE! KEN WAHL’s SPECIAL MEMORIAL DAY MESSAGE: ON THE IMPORTANCE OF PETS, VETS & PTSD

Published on: May 23, 2014
Photography by: Courtesy of Ken Wahl
EXCLUSIVE!  KEN WAHL’s SPECIAL MEMORIAL DAY MESSAGE: ON THE IMPORTANCE OF PETS, VETS &  PTSD

The Value of Animals in the Treatment of PTSD and TBI

Most people may not realize the tremendous value that therapy/companion/comfort animals have for the purposes of easing the suffering of those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PTSD), and Traumatic Brain Injury, (TBI), particularly within the military. This is entirely understandable and stands to reason. Most people do not suffer from PTSD or TBI. For those that do, however, animals can be a crucial part of their  recovery.              

A large part of the despair associated with these maladies is a deep sense of uselessness and being a burden to family and friends. This then brings on feelings of guilt, which intensifies the sense of worthlessness, igniting the downward spiral. I know this from personal experience, as I had sustained a severe spinal injury in 1992. I, myself, sank into that abysmal pit of feeling utterly worthless, useless and burdensome.

The caring for an animal, especially one that's been rescued, can help return one to a sense of being needed and useful. In my own case, it was nearly miraculous. The relationship between human and animal is wholly symbiotic. The person needs the animal for comfort and companionship, and the animal needs the love and caring of the human. It is a classic "win-win" situation. It sounds simple - and it is. That is why it works so well. However, it is not a panacea. It is just one method for the easing of suffering from PTSD and TBI. If you know someone suffering from PTSD/TBI, please encourage their friends and family to connect them with a rescue pet. In most cases, it will be remarkably spiritually uplifting to both human and animal.                      

 I am not a doctor. Nor am I a member of the military. What I am is an appreciative, concerned American citizen, who was horrified when I heard about the horrendous rates of suicide (22 per day, veterans and active troops) and PTSD/TBI within our military. As such, I felt compelled to reach out to anyone who cared to listen to try to help with this terrible situation. This is not just life and death. It is life and death of those that defend our freedom. Adding to that was my love for animals and my desire to help ease their suffering as well. To me, nothing I could do could be more important. Fortunately, I have found many others that feel likewise. Hopefully, anyone who may happen to read this will also come to feel this way.

Despite many reports to the contrary, kindness, concern, and a desire to do good and make a positive difference in this life is alive and well in America. For that, I am extremely grateful...