Study examines the use of animals in veteran therapy

(MAY 9, 2013) War veterans suffering from mental health issues may benefit from interacting with dogs and horses. The new study, funded by the federal government of Canada, has pledged fifty thousand dollars to test the effectiveness of these methods.

The study is a collaboration between St. John Ambulance, Can Praxis and Veteran Affairs Canada. According to St. John Ambulance Chancellor Mairi Arthur, St. John Therapy Dog teams already provide over 180,000 hours of services to those who need them.

“We are excited about the pilot project being supported by Veterans Affairs Canada,” said Arthur, “and we hope that this research will help contribute to improving the quality of life of our Veterans.”

And Veteran Affairs Associate Deputy Minister General Walter Semianiw says the veterans already welcome the announcement.

“Veterans need to make their lives better,” Semianiw explained, “and one issue that has come up was the issue of animal therapy with dogs and horses.”

The study will partner veteran organizations with the University of Saskatchewan and McGill University in order to help better understand the benefits of animal therapy.

The founder of Wounded Warriors of Canada Wayne Johnston says he is happy that more attention is being paid to the needs of Canadian veterans.

“”It is a huge step to study the benefits of therapy dogs and of equine therapy—two programs that Wounded Warriors Canada is proud to help fund and will continue to support in the years ahead,” Johnston says.

Earlier in the week, the federal government announced the launch of a mobile app to help post-traumatic stress disorder patients battle their symptoms.

This article was originally published on the BCIT News website.