VetDogs are trained service dogs that provide assistance for veterans with low hearing and deafness, low vision and blindness, physical disabilities and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). VetDogs also provides dogs for use in military hospitals and VA recovery programs.
At the Pets Summit, some of the service dogs gave demonstrations on some of their helpful skills, one of them being nightmare interruption, when a service dog pulls the bed covers off the sleeping veteran if the dog detects that he or she is having a nightmare.
One US Army veteran, Kent Phyfe, who served in the military for 15 years, obtained his service dog, Mike, after a recommendation from his VA doctors. Now Mike assists Phyfe with tasks like pushing buttons (including a 911 button in an emergency), along with nightmare interruption.
The dog is trained to activate a loud, high pitched alarm should Phyfe pass out, due to his neurocardiogenic syncope, a condition that may cause him to faint without any warning.
“He is such a large dog — his bark is so loud that it’s not a good thing. It might scare people off,” says Phyfe. “So he pulls an alert.”
The VetDogs representatives were happy with the reaction they got to Tuesday’s demonstrations. These demonstrations are a great way to give people a better understanding of the type of work that goes into training these service dogs and the important work that the dogs do. It also shows the strong bond that develops between a veteran and their dog.