Therapy Dogs Deployed to Iraq to Comfort Troops

Two professionally trained Labrador Retrievers will fly to Iraq to help troops deal with combat stress.

Posted: December 13, 2007, 5 a.m. EST

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For the first time in United States Army history, the military is sending two therapy dogs to Iraq – professionally trained and flown from the United States – to help relieve soldiers’ combat stress, according to guide dog service provider America’s VetDogs.

The black Labrador Retrievers, Boe and Budge, will provide emotional support for the troops, as they’ll be allowed to play with the dogs, or simply pet them. The dogs will work with their handlers and Army professionals to help address soldiers’ mental health issues as they arise.

“Dogs have been the unsung heroes of our war efforts,” said Major Stacie Caswell, commander of the 85th Medical Detachment. “Bringing therapy dogs will be another method that our combat stress teams can use to break down mental health stigma.”

America’s VetDogs, a division of the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, is providing the dogs to the Army’s 85th Medical Detachment. VetDog officials said they’ve been assured the dogs will be safe in Iraq.

A formal ceremony takes place Thursday, Dec. 13, at the VetDogs headquarters in Smithtown, N.Y., where the dogs will be handed over to the Army’s 85th Medical Detachment.

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Steffanie   Indiana, PA

7/26/2008 1:03:06 PM

This is a fantastic idea!!!

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Craig   St. Louis, MO

12/18/2007 12:06:19 PM

Dogs are great therapy. This is a great idea. I just hope that Blackwater and the rest if the military get the memo. Recently, a Blackwater guard shot and killed a dog owned by the New York Times. Additionally, there were numerous reports of militry commaders shooting and killing soldier's dogs in Iraq at the start of the war...as well as soldiers being refused permission to take their dogs home after their rotation ended...something about enforcing the rules. If we send those dogs over there, someone had better be reposnsible for keeping them safe.

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doggy   dogville, DE

12/13/2007 11:54:02 PM

Great Idea!

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Karen   Standish, ME

12/13/2007 8:19:13 PM

Therapy dogs are the best idea I have heard all year! The troops could use some
support!
Sadly my Therapy dog passed away in June otherwise I would go visit the troops!!

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