Wounded Warriors Canada reps are in Red Deer this week raising money to buy service dogs for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Richard Arnott, a representative with the charity which supports ill and injured Canadian armed forces members, veterans, first responders and their families, was at the Sobeys on Gaetz south Monday selling Action Pack coupon booklets for $25.
The coupon booklet contains hundreds of complimentary vouchers for local products and services.
All the money raised from the campaign goes to support the Wounded Warrior investment in PTSD service/therapy dogs for veterans and first responders across the country.
Arnott, whose father is a veteran with PTSD, said that mental illness among veterans is a serious issue in Canada.
He said service dogs — not funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs — go a long way in helping veterans. They have been credited with saving the lives of veterans.
In a study conducted by Laval University in 2017, researchers followed 31 veterans and their dogs since 2016. They discovered that service dogs reduce PTSD symptoms and provide an overall improvement in the quality of life for veterans.
The dogs also helped with other symptoms, such as self-esteem, depression, mobility and sleep quality, according to the study results.
“Due to the shortage of funding, there is an actual shortage of service dogs for our veterans,” Arnott said. “These service dogs are very valuable because they do cut down on the suicide rate among veterans by over 50 per cent — which is huge when it comes to saving a veteran’s life.”
The service dogs are trained to detect stress signals coming from their owners.
“They will detect when a veteran is feeling stressed or feeling anxiety and also when a veteran feels suicidal. The dog has a tendency to know those signs and will act accordingly by bringing a veteran back down to reality and keeping them safe. So they are very valuable.”
Wounded Warrior Canada reps are at the Sobeys on Gaetz south until Thursday.
From Friday on, action packs are available at the North Walmart Supercentre on 6375 – 50th Ave.