Dogs and other companion animals can be very important in the healing of PTSD’s soul wounds. Trained dogs and their handlers are often used in law enforcement and in military environments. They are also engaged in nursing homes, PTSD-recovery, and nursing home environments. The unconditional love shown by a companion animal can be one of the first steps in learning that we are worthy of love. They can also teach us about love and commitment, that we can risk healthy relationships.
In today’s (26 Nov. 2012) online edition of the Los Angeles Times, Tom Perry reports, “Military’s dogs of war also suffer post-traumatic stress disorder.”
This article is worth your time. Theologically it helps us better appreciate how the alienation of PTSD-based trauma transcends the isolated event and can even be experienced by more than just our own species.
At some point in the future I intend to write more on the positives and negatives a companion animal can offer those of us damaged by PTSD’s soul wound.
The relationship is a two-way street. There are times we may need to be there for animals as much as they are there for us. In their service and companionship to us, our animals can also become traumatized. It would seem that they too can be damaged with PTSD. Companion animals can help us heal…and we can help them heal. When this happens Love is created and shared.
God created animals so that we might be in companion and healing relationships with them. They are part of the Creation and are manifestations of the love God built into all of us. For those with PTSD, it is another sign how much God loves and cares for us.
Semper Pax, Dr. Z