Dogs helping to heal the emotional wounds of war

The capacity of human hearts to be healed by animal kindness is an astounding thing, as you’ll see in this report from last night’s NBC Nightly News about therapy dogs helping soldiers move on from the emotional wounds of war.

Irwin Stovroff, an 89-year-old World War II veteran, started a charity in 2007 called Vets Helping Heroes (vets as in veterans, not veterinarians). He raised $3 million to provide American veterans with therapy dogs. It costs about $70,000 to train each dog in the program. Since the program started, about 80 veterans have been given dogs.

I’ll admit that I teared up watching this story last night, but I smiled, too. Watching people whose lives were affected by PTSD find solace and companionship in these dogs is a beautiful thing.

And, as Strovroff explained, the use of therapy dogs isn’t new: “The American Red Cross, after World War II, used pets in convalescent homes, to help our troops.  So, this relationship goes back many, many years and it’s a win-win,” he told NBC News.

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  1. irwin Stovroff says:

    Julie thank you for your write up about my program. An error was made as to the cost of a trained
    dog. It is not 70,000, depending on whether he is a Guide Dog or for other disabilities it
    can be from $20,000 up to $50,000. We do appreciate your great story about us. irwin

    • Julie Ciaramella says:

      Mr. Stovroff, thanks for your correction and for your comment. I’m so glad you found my blog post! I enjoyed your story so much and admire you for starting this program. Thanks for your service and your dedication to helping our veterans.

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