Dr Alice Aiken
Credits: Ian MacAlpine/QMI AGENCY
The government said Friday it intends to explore how psychiatric service dogs can help with the treatment of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Veterans Affairs Canada and Dr. Alice Aiken, the director of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veterans Health Research at Queen's University, say they will collect and evaluate the existing research on psychiatric service dogs, and issue a proposal next March.
"Some veterans have shared compelling stories about using service dogs. We look forward to gathering evidence and evaluating the effect of this type of treatment on Veterans with mental health conditions and their families," said Dr. Aiken.
Psychiatric service dogs are trained to assist with symptoms relating to PTSD, anxiety and panic disorders, and severe depression. They are individually trained to perform tasks for their handlers, such as reminding them to take medication, retrieving objects, guiding them from stressful situations, or acting as a brace if the handler becomes dizzy.