Dogs and PTSD

August 4 2010, 12:32 PM
The Associated Press tells the story of Gina, a bomb-sniffing military dog that returned to Peterson Air Force Base a bit listless after duty in Iraq. The two-year-old German shepherd would cower and sometimes skulk with her tail between her legs when she didn't want to walk into buildings. She also hid from people. Then the diagnosis came from a military veterinarian: post-traumatic stress disorder. "She showed all the symptoms, and she had all the signs," says Master Sergeant Eric Haynes, the kennel master at Peterson. One year later, Gina is recovering with treatment. Sound silly? Not to Nicholas Dodman, head of the animal behavior program at Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. He says PTSD in animals is almost exactly the same as in humans---including, of course, soldiers who've served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile in Georgia, Sergeant Christopher Duke and his wife have adopted Rufus, one of two dogs that attacked suicide bombers in Afghanistan and is credited with saving the lives of several soldiers, writes USA Today.