New program uses dogs to help relieve stress of returning soldiers


A soldier from the Tennessee National Guard is greeted by Jasmine, a therapy dog.

photo by Scott Roberson for the Daily Journal

A story from the Johnson County (IN) Daily Journal describes a three-month old program that uses dogs to greet soldiers returning from overseas

“Their shoulders get less rigid, their eyes light up, and they smile,” said Janine Ostrum, Smokey’s owner. “The soldiers can be just as anxious coming back as when they leave. They have so much to do coming home. It helps calm them down and pass the time to just play with a dog.”

The use of therapy dogs has been proven to reduce stress levels and blood pressure in hospitals, and the military program’s designers believe the same ameliorative effects will help soldiers trying to re-enter home life.

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