Therapy Dogs Ease Soldiers’ Stress After War

Lexy_therapy_dog_APSoldiers often sacrifice their physical and emotional well-being in order to protect their country. Trying to cope with stress and trauma after returning from war can make even the bravest solider feel isolated and alone, but there are four-legged heroes working to change that.

Meet Lexy, Fort Bragg's only certified therapy dog. Lexy went through 2 and half years of training in order to earn her rank--lieutenant colonel.

Lexy's owner is 82 Airborne psychiatrist Maj. Christine Rumayor. Lexy is her partner when working with patients, and she says that she can see the calming effect that Lexy has on them.

Getting soldiers to seek and accept treatment is one of the greatest struggles that the military is facing. Lexy's presence on base makes it easier for Rumayor to strike up conversation with soldiers, and makes it easier for them to come to appointments. The soldiers love Lexy, and her therapy vest is decorated with badges and patches given to her by adoring patients.

Animal-assisted therapy is a growing trend in hospitals and other facilities, but it is very slowly gaining traction in the military community. Currently there are only a few other military installations that utilize therapy dogs, although with dogs like Lexy, this is sure to be a growing phenomenon.

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