(176) Sunset: Call to Retreat

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Golly, Miss Molly

A Blog about a Service Dog and her Veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the Veteran and the Family Caregiver)

For our troops no rest approaches at sunset when fighting the war against terrorism. For our Veterans, a state of hypervigilance remains with most with a readiness to take up arms to protect our nation at any call, declaring restsunset over the beach elusive. For the caregivers of our Veterans and family members left behind during military deployments, the full burden falls upon their shoulders to provide care on the home front, leaving no time for rest when the Sunset bugle calls.

Last week, the Molly Blog spoke of the Reveille bugle call, waking troops in a call to action. Today, the blog focuses on Sunset, the call to retreat for the day. The Sunset bugle call, or Retreat, serves as a call to rest and remember those who fought the battle before.

We think of loved ones near and far

And those who’ve fought the fight before

Keep safe your people, Lord

This night and for evermore.

Knowing When to Retreat: A Caregiver’s Perspective 

While this blogger knows nothing of battle and retreat, the importance of retreat as a strategy for survival remains clear. As a caregiver of a Veteran, we battle through the emotions boiling in our Veteran; we fight for our family; tackle mounds of laundry, dishes, and bills; and, fiercely defend our Veteran to ensure proper health care treatment.

Often the easiest path pushes us to do everything ourselves without regard for our own needs. Even the VA (Veterans Administration) understands the need for Retreat, offering a strong caregiver support program and network.

The VA launched the PTSD Family Coach app to help the family caregiver know when to retreat with advice on how to cope when living with or caring for a military member or Veteran with PTSD and/or TBI. It offers a knowledge base on PTSD; stress assessment; safety plan; links for resources; and, help when feeling isolated, angry, or experiencing insomnia. When loading the app, it invites the user to personalize stress intervention by loading favorite pictures and music. A long list of tools numbered 25 when loaded this morning. Topics range from mindful eating to soothing beach scenes with audio. Although the app only serves iOS users today, the VA works to bring it to the Android platform soon.

Veteran’s families can call Coaching Into Care:

1-888-823-7458

Don’t forget that the VA offers a similar app for our service members and Veterans, referred to as the PTSD Coach. The VA reports that the app resides on over 100,000 mobile devices in 74 countries. The National Center for PTSD developed this popular app and it is available for free by downloading to an iOS or Android device (the above web link includes a desktop version, as well).

Retreat is Not Weakness

While it may feel otherwise, no shame exists in retreat. As my Veteran said, “It’s better to retreat today and fight tomorrow.” This applies to our caregivers, as well as our military. Without retreating and refreshing, we as parents and spouses risk our families. Our warriors go to war to protect our country and our families, so why would one ignore the need to retreat when life overwhelms us? 

Molly’s Response to the Sunset Bugle Call 

Even Miss Molly and her Veteran know when to retreat and rest. Do they enjoy it?

Molly Enjoys Retreat

Oh, yeah!

Post your Comments: 

What do you do to help yourself and your family when you need to retreat? Please reply below. 

About the blogger 

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her disabled Vietnam Veteran husband, William, and his service dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her grandchildren.

(124) Nightmares and Invading Aliens: PTSD, Sleep, and ET

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Golly, Miss Molly

A Blog about a Service Dog and her Veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the Veteran and the Family Caregiver)


Sleep Disorders and Veterans 

Do you suffer from sleep deprivation, have nightmares, or sleep too much? These may be signs of PTSD if these symptoms do not go away over time or if they worsen, according to the National Center for PTSD. While sleep problems frequently occur after a traumatic event, for a Veteran with PTSD or TBI, these symptoms may not go away and can make living a normal life difficult. Seeking the help of a doctor is recommended.

The National Center for PTSD offers tips for coping with these symptoms and provides an on-line coaching program to help the Veteran cope; the on-line coaching program even comes with a Mobile App! While your doctor may prescribe sleep medications, they generally are limited to short-term use and often do not help when suffering from severe war trauma. As well, sleep medications may interfere with effective PTSD treatment.

How are PTSD and Sleep Problems Related? 

The VA offers five explanations of how PTSD and sleep problems are related. First, the VA explains that Veterans often stay on high alert after returning from war. The habit and necessity of being on guard prevents one from getting restful sleep after returning to civilian life. The slightest sound, light, or vibration may disrupt sleep. Second, negative thoughts disturb sleep, causing one to sense danger and evade sleep. Third, use of drugs or alcohol interferes with sleep often causing nightmares and/or flashbacks. Fourth, nightmares often follow traumatic events, as the person relives the trauma. Fifth, physical injury from war or other medical problems, resulting from PTSD such as stomach problems and chronic pain, interfere with sleep.

Tips to Help with Sleep 

The VA website recommends several actions:

  1. Change your sleeping area by using it for sleep only and not watching television or listening to the radio; keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool. Block out all light. Listen to soothing music, use a white noise machine, or wear earplugs to block out noise at night.
  2. Establish a routine for bedtime and walk-up at the same time each morning. For the bedtime routine, the VA recommends no stressful or energizing activities within two hours of bedtime. Create a relaxing routine by taking a warm shower or bath, listen to music, or drink decaf tea each evening before bed.
  3. Exercise and getting outside for sunshine help in restoring the body and reaching a regular routine.
  4. See a doctor if your sleep problems persist.

For more tips, see the VA webpage on “Sleep and PTSD.”

Invading Nightmares 

Although I never experienced a traumatic event, my insomnia began at the age of five with the first of many night terrors. Fifty-three years later, I still experience the night terrors but am finally sleeping more than four or five hours a night. No medication or home remedies work—it is something I live with.

For those Veterans with sleep disorders, the VA wants to help. You have suffered enough and there is help for PTSD and its symptoms. Do not be hesitant in asking for help. Chances are that if you are suffering from sleep problems, you are suffering with other symptoms of PTSD or TBI—most of which are treatable.

Invading Aliens 

Miss Molly and I experience nightmares about invading aliens. In her case, I assume she runs from aliens because of the way her legs move and the sounds she makes in her sleep. For me, aliens visited me in my nightmares long before the movie, ET, hit the big screen.

My husband loves watching alien invasion movies, most of which give me nightmares. After reading an article in the Stars and Stripes dated September 7, I know I am in for another nightmare. The article entitled, “Air Force gives ‘last best offer’ for land near Area 51 testing site,” talked about the Air Force trying to buy landlocked property surrounded by the Nevada bombing range site–often referred to as Area 51 (you know, where the alien spaceships park).

The property owner wants $10.5 million for its 400-acre mining property, which overlooks Groom Lake—the reputed location for highly secret military activity. Referring to the property as “one of many remote locations within the Nevada Test and Training Range,” the Air Force offered $5.2 million. It looks like the standoff heads to eminent domain court (sounds like a bad remake of Cowboys and Aliens). 

Sometimes I wish I did not have such a vivid imagination!

Post your Comments: 

Did you experience nightmares when returning from war? How did you gain control over your sleeping problems? Please reply below. 

Sources cited:

  • National Center for PTSD. “PTSD Monthly Update for August 2015,” as retrieved on August 31, 2015.
  • Ritter, Ken. “Air Force gives ‘last best final offer’ for land near Area 51 testing site,” in Stars and Stripes, September 7, 2015, as retrieved on September 8, 2015.
  • US Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center for PTSD, “Sleep and PTSD,” as retrieved on September 8, 2015.

About the blogger 

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her disabled Vietnam Veteran husband, William, and his service dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her granddaughter.

(83) Just us Girls: The Plight of the Female Veteran

Molly, the service dog

Golly, Miss Molly

A Blog about a Service Dog and her Veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the Veteran and the Family Caregiver)


 Molly and the Female Veteran 

In all of our visits to VA medical facilities, my Veteran and I have only met a few female Veterans. Female Veterans generally sit by themselves and stay quiet while waiting for services. Engaging them in conversation, they are respectful, polite, and thoughtful but rarely initiate eye contact or dialogue.

“Don’t underestimate them,” William said. “There is a lot going on inside of them from war. Sometimes I think women suffer from war more than men Molly's big, brown eyesdo. You should write about them.”

Miss Molly agrees. After all, she is a female, too. She likes being near and around women. In waiting rooms, she will face a female Veteran with those big brown eyes. If a dog could smile, I know she does. She often makes her way out of the waiting room, nuzzling by a female Veteran.

Unique Stressors

The National Center for PTSD wrote about the traumatic stress in female Veterans. The Center cited that women make up 11 percent of Veterans from the Afghanistan and Iraq military operations. In fact, women are the fastest growing group of Veterans. Twenty percent of female Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan and 27 percent from Vietnam have been diagnosed with PTSD. The site lists four main stressors that women face in military service. These include: (1) combat missions, (2) military sexual trauma (MST), (3) feeling alone, and (4) worry about family.

Combat Missions: Women often are not trained for combat missions but find themselves under hostile fire, returning fire, and witnessing the horrors of war firsthand. My husband shared that female medical staff in Vietnam often found themselves in the midst of battle and exposed to trauma just as combat Veterans.

Like many men in the war, the nurse was ill-prepared to survive physically or mentally in a guerrilla war, but she did, at great costs though. The price of being in the war was the same for men: irritability, deep fears, anxieties, anger, and for some, despair.  (Brende and Parson, 155)

Military Sexual Trauma: Many years ago, a female Marine Veteran struggled as one of my graduate students. Her release from the Marines came only months before she began her study. She started the program with excitement and brilliance. Over the next few weeks, she displayed signs of trauma. We talked often after class about her experience in the military. I asked her to talk with my husband, who accompanied me to class frequently. She shared openly with him about MST she suffered. He helped her connect with VA services. She had to overcome not only PTSD and MST but also the stigma of asking for help.

“Marines are strong. We don’t ask for help,” she told me one day.

In the few conversations I have had with other female Veterans, their stories are similar.

Feeling Alone: Often warriors are split off from their comrades and sent to various assignments. The isolation, according to the Center for PTSD, intensifies for women, who are a small population of their assigned units. They often find themselves in a non-supportive environment, which makes coping difficult.

Observing female Veterans in waiting rooms, confirms that those feelings of being alone continue after war. My husband tells me that Vietnam Veterans do not seek help because no one understands their plight unless they fought in war themselves. I imagine this feeling compounds for women because there are so few Veterans, who fought in their war and understand the female’s perspective.

Worry About Family: With year-long deployments often with little notice, being separated from their children creates guilt, heartache, and concern about their children’s welfare. Once returning home, it is reported that many women find it difficult to return to being mom. The Center cites that women often have more conflicts with their children after returning.

VA Assistance 

The VA offers special care for female Veterans. The VA added special services for women, including clinical initiatives, research agendas, and programs just for women. Every VA Hospital in the country now employs a Women Veterans Program Manager. The VA runs the Women Veterans Health Program and the Center for Women Veterans.

The National Center for PTSD suggests that a strong social network is key to helping women heal from war trauma. Offering a caring, listening ear may help begin the healing process just as it did when my former student shared her story with my husband—a fellow Veteran.

Who Can Help?

While I have a heart for all Veterans, I cannot give that support needed by female Veterans because I never served in the military. Many of our readers have served and can help if so inclined. Perhaps the next time you are in a VA waiting room, you might engage a female Veteran and listen to her story.

Molly does this every chance she can. We find that bringing her to William’s trips to the VA helps in reaching out. A rub on her head or a scratch behind her ears does more for the Veteran than a boatload of medication. 

Post your Comments: 

Do you know of other unique stressors women face in a postwar environment? Please comment below. 

Photo credits: pculbrethgraft

Sources cited:

About the blogger 

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her disabled Vietnam Veteran husband, William, and his service dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her granddaughter.

(79) Quirks and a Call: Silly Things Dogs Do and Resources for Veterans and Family Caregivers

Molly, the service dog

Golly, Miss Molly

A Blog about a Service Dog and her Veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the Veteran and the Family Caregiver)


Frolic and Flub 

Did you ever watch the 1965 television show, Please Don’t Eat the Daisies? It featured the Nash family with four boys and a sheepdog named Ladd. Ladd and the youngest two boys, Trevor and Tracy, always found trouble with their oversized, furry companion. The comedy reminds me of our Molly and the trouble she often finds.

Since the past few Molly blogs discussed heavy subjects (in addition to talking about Molly’s weight problem), I thought I should lighten up a bit (oh, no, another fat joke—sorry Molly). I will share a few of Molly’s quirks with you before sharing a list of resources released by the VA in its annual calendar.

Molly Quirks 

  • She snores like a freight train and can even snore with her eyes openMolly on her back with leggs up
  • Molly hides her rawhide bone under William’s pillow when he and I leave for the day; she retrieves the bone and eats it once we return
  • When we give the command, relax, she rolls over on her back with her legs in the air, more like surrender
  • Her favorite forbidden snacks that she swipes from the counter are chocolate cupcakes and unsalted butter
  • She is the world’s first 140-pound lapdog (well, maybe not the first)
  • Skunks and little dogs top her list of pet peeves
  • When she walks, she sounds like a troupe of tap dancers because of her double dewclaws
  • She takes on male bucks but hides from the magpies
  • Molly shies away from the camera

The Molly Blog Team would love to hear about your pet’s quirks. You can either use the feedback section at the end of this blog or fill out the comment form listed after the resources guide.

The Important Stuff

This list comes from the VA’s 2015 Calendar, “The VA & You: A Partnership of Care.” 

VA Resources Phone Number Website
Veteran Benefits 1-800-827-1000 www.va.gov or  www.ebenefits.va.gov
Health Eligibility and Enrollment 1-877-222-8387 www.va.gov/healthbenefits
VA Facility Locator 1-877-222-8387 www.myhealth.va.gov
Agent Orange Helpline 1-800-749-8387 www.va.gov/agentorange
Burial and Memorials 1-800-827-1000 www.cem.va.gov
Center for Minority Veterans Call your local VA www.va.gov/centerforminorityveterans
Devices for the Deaf (TDD) Dial 711
Education Benefits and Services 1-888-442-4551 www.benefits.va.gov/gibill
Gulf War Helpline 1-800-749-8387 www.va.gov/gulfwar
Homeless Veterans 1-877-424-3838 www.va.gov/homeless
Home Loans 1-888-827-3702 www.homeloans.va.gov
Life Insurance 1-800-669-8477 www.insurance.va.gov
Mental Health Call your local VA www.mentalhealth.va.gov
MOVE! Program Call your local VA www.move.va.gov
MyHealtheVet 1-877-327-0022 www.myhealth.va.gov
National Center for PTSD Call your local VA or 1-802-296-6300 www.ptsd.va.gov
Returning OEF/OIF/OND Service Members 1-866-606-8216 www.oefoif.va.gov
Survivor Benefits 1-800-827-1000 www.vba.va.gov/survivors
VA Caregiver Support Line 1-855-260-3274 www.caregiver.va.gov
VA Mobile Health https://mobilehealth.va.gov
VA National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention www.prevention.va.gov
VA National Center for Patient Safety www.patientsafety.va.gov
Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 Press “1” www.veteranscrisisline.net
Women Veterans Call Center 1-855-829-6636 www.womenshealth.va.gov

Molly shys away from camera Share a Pet Quirk? 

Molly would feel much better if she knew other pets had quirks, too. Care to share your pet’s quirks? Please fill out the comment form below or respond as feedback at the end of the blog.

Photo credits: pculbrethgraft

About the blogger 

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her disabled Vietnam Veteran husband, William, and his service dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her grandchildren.

(74) What Does Your Navigation System Say About You?

Molly, the service dog

Golly, Miss Molly

A blog about a service dog and her veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the veteran and the family caregiver)


GPS Navigation Orientation 

My husband installed a GPS navigation system on his truck. This week, we took a short trip to one of his favorite communities. Wrapping around mountains, his navigation system guided him smoothly through our trip. I tried helping but found myself dizzy from the switchbacks. If I could get my bearing north, I knew my navigator instincts would kick in.

I never found my bearings—at least until the Denver skyline appeared on our way home. My husband always sets his navigation system to rotate with the direction of the vehicle. I always set my navigation system with the orientation fixed northward. My orientation drives him nuts and his orientation makes me nauseous.

Gender Differences or PTSD 

I wonder if this orientation preference rests in our genders. Perhaps I can blame it on PTSD. These differences extend beyond GPS. My husband loves to move after two or three years in a house. I want roots; I long to watch neighbor kids grow up and see them return to their homes with their children. My husband loves the chase for anything new. I prefer repurposing something old. He drives fast while I cry out for him to slow down, clenching the armrest until my knuckles turn white. The Hobbit, Game of Thrones, and anything fantasy thrills his soul. I prefer FBI stories, political suspense, and non-fiction. The list of differences goes on.

The Need for Speed

Trying to sort out what is gender-driven and what results from PTSD makes me as dizzy as his navigation setting. I searched the literature for symptoms of PTSD. My hunt ended with references to the Veteran needing the adrenaline-rush to feel alive after returning from war. A video on the National Center for PTSD featured an Afghanistan Veteran complaining that his wife always criticizes him for driving too fast, ignoring traffic signs, and driving dangerously. The need for speed is identified with the hyper-vigilance warriors needed to survive in war. Returning home, hyper-vigilance remains, showing up in other ways, including speed behind the wheel and road rage.

Although Charles Figley’s book, Stress Disorders Among Vietnam Veterans, focuses on a war long past, the symptoms identified in Vietnam Veterans remain the basis of today’s PTSD findings.

The atmosphere of terror and counter-terror saturated the lives of the GIs as well—though its impact on them was seldom officially acknowledged. This led to sensory dislocation. Emotionally anesthetized, ethically immunized, without bearings, disconnected from any human reality, our anti-guerilla warriors existed in a dreamlike sleepwalker’s no-man’s land. (Figley, 45)

A Veteran’s Perception of the World

To make a warrior and equip him/her to survive, the old perceptions of reality must be broken down—just as the individual must be broken to serve. A new reality emerges that makes the warrior combat-ready. Once returning home, the old perceptions again resurface but are distorted from combat. Often, the warrior retreats to his/her isolated world of disturbed perceptions.

Reading through Figley’s book, I saw fragments of my husband’s unusual behaviors in a new way. I became less judgmental, more understanding, and learned to approach him gently with what I observed. This opened the door to dialogue and brought positive changes in behaviors and attitudes to both of us.

The journey of marriage to a disabled Veteran with PTSD promises a life of challenges. Often frightening in the beginning, as a Veteran adjusts to life back at home, he/she works through the oddity of behaviors and perceptions, struggling to make sense of them. With medical help and the love of a supportive family, the Veteran’s perceptions begin aligning closer with reality and less with the isolated world he or she retreated into when returning from war.

Backseat Driver

Molly must have taken PTSD 101 with her service dog training, as William’s symptoms never bother her. In fact, she follows his direction without challenge, never passes judgment, and clings to him when his moods shift with the wind. Maybe on our next mountain excursion, I will give Molly the navigator’s seat up front and I’ll chew on her rawhide bone while retreating to the safety of the backseat—oh, no, then I’d really be a backseat driver.

Post your Comments: 

Can you identify with any of the PTSD symptoms mentioned as a Veteran, caregiver, or friend of a Veteran? Please comment below.  

About the blogger 

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her disabled Vietnam Veteran husband, William, and his service dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her grandchildren.

(53) A Yak in the Back

Molly, the service dog

Golly, Miss Molly

A blog about a service dog and her veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the veteran and the family caregiver)


An apology to Readers

I’m sorry you did not have a Molly blog resting in your in box this morning. I generally post them at 1 am so you have them to read in the morning. I believe my tardiness  falls into the “It’s All About Me” or “It’s Not My Fault” categories.

My veteran took me to the emergency room yesterday for a respiratory problem that took a few hours to clear. I’m so proud of how he did. With PTSD, it is difficult for my veteran to be in crowded places. Certainly, an ER waiting room qualifies as a crowded place. He chose a section by the door, which blew in snow and single digit temperatures. I suppose that is why he didn’t feel as closed in.

William and I met a lovely young veteran, who had not yet sought out the VA for her benefits although she is experiencing medical needs from her short service. We also met a sweet young mother and her baby. The mother’s face displayed a full shoe print from her eye to her neck. William spoke directly, suggesting the abuser needs to be dealt with–harshly.

The only social breech I’m aware of occurred when I was undergoing x-rays. Apparently, a man in the waiting room complained he had waited for two hours already and expressed his displeasure. William spoke boldly and told the man he had not been there for two hours. My veteran called him a liar and told him he needed to “man up” and stop the lying. William said a hospital employee suggested he not scold other patients. I think the entire ER waiting room probably cheered when he said it. Nonetheless, the lack of filters for a veteran with PTSD can be a problem. The rest of the time, he spent with me in an ER room. He recovered from his panic attack and helped me through the next four hours of our visit.

A Bit of Miss Molly Fiction

Molly just returned from her visit to see Uncle Bernard. We booked a charter flight home since Santa returned to the North Pole and already started working on 2015 Christmas presents. The charter resembled the 1930 charter plane from Mummy II

where the pilot (Crazy Bombacker) flies like a bat and enjoys terrorizing passengers (mostly cargo), including a Yak in the back. Anyway, she arrived home just as William loaded me into the car for my ER visit.

Back to Reality

Miss Molly helped herself to a box of wheat thins my husband left out when we rushed to the ER. We never did find the box. She recently ate plastic Ziplock bags filled with chocolate candy, including the wrappers at Christmas. I expect cardboard is tastier.

Unpredictable and In Need of Rest

Molly’s writing mom (the one without the paws and dewclaws) will be convalescing for the rest of the week, so my next blog will be Tuesday, January 6.

Whiteboard Video on PTSD

In the meantime, how about a new whiteboard video on PTSD? It came in my inbox today. It is a good introduction to PTSD and links with a host of resources offered by the National Center for PTSD.

Post your Comments:

Have you found the resources from the National Center for PTSD helpful? Please comment below.

About the blogger

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her disabled Vietnam Veteran husband, William, and his service dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her grandchildren.

(34) From Dog Years to People Years: Life expectancy of humans

 

Molly, the service dog

Golly, Miss Molly

A blog about a service dog and her veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the veteran and the family caregiver)

 

 Longevity Depends on Gender

In Molly’s recent blog (32) Can Your Dog Count?, we provided a chart of the life expectancy of dogs. Molly’s life expectancy is shorter than her small-dog friend. William found an article this morning that addresses the life expectancy of humans. Molly and I thought sharing this with our readers would be beneficial.

The article from Fox News entitled, “5 reasons women live longer than men,” by Hallie Levine stated that the average American lives 78 years and 9 ½ months. Her article tells us that the life expectancy of a girl born in 2012 is 81.2 years whereas the life expectancy for boys born in the same year is 76.4. She identified five reasons for this while adding a quote from Dr. Marianne Legato of clinical medicine from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. ‘”Men are biologically and sociologically at a disadvantage from the time they’re conceived to the time they die.”

Females are tougher in the womb. Boys are conceived at a rate of 2.5 compared to girls but by the time of birth, the ration drops to 1 on 1. This means, boys often do not survive in the womb.

  1. Women are less likely to take risks than men. Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death in men while it is only the sixth leading cause for women.
  2. Heart disease kills women about ten years later than men. Men die from it in their 30s and 40s. Heart disease is the number one killer of both genders.
  3. Women develop and maintain stronger networks, which tends to lower their chance of dying by 50 percent over those who have only a few social connections. (I need to add to my Facebook friends, as my current total of five friends puts me at risk.)
  4. Women take better care of themselves health-wise than men.

While these statistics do not address the effects of war and PTSD on the veteran, we know from studies that the stress caused from war tears down the body and reduces longevity.

Good News for Veterans with Service Dogs

 While the National Center for PTSD indicated there is no evidence to suggest that service dogs significantly benefit veterans, two studies mentioned by John Emsinger in his book, Service and Therapy Dogs in American Society (pp. 59-61) showed that the benefit to veterans rates high.

One study compared disabled individuals with service dogs with those not having service dogs. The study showed that those with service dogs reached a higher level of self-esteem, lived with greater independence, enrolled in higher education, needed less support from a caregiver, and possessed greater life satisfaction than the group not having the service dogs. The study mentioned that five participants with service dogs even reconciled with their spouses after they obtained service dogs. The conclusion overall stated, “Service dogs are very good for people.”

Veterans are Not Statistics

The information presented on the statistics of life expectancy came from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The information refers to the general population—not to any one person.

Miss Molly with CadburyMiss Molly’s goal is to let you know that help for the veteran exists and awaits your engagement. Reach out for the help because you are unique, special, and worthy of the resources dedicated for your health and longevity. And, Molly adds, “THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE AND SACRIFICE!”

Post your Comments:

What benefits do you receive from your service dog? Please comment below.

About the blogger

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her husband, William, and dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her grandchildren.