Veterinary clinic helping veterans with PTSD
HOT SPRINGS VILLAGE (KATV) — At the All Pet Center in Hot Springs Village the vet sees all kinds of animals, but in his own special way, he protects the ones who protect us. Most veterans would like to forget what happened while they were in combat, but that is not an easy task for those with post-traumatic stress disorder. More than 1 in 10 Vietnam - era veterans still suffer from PTSD. About 2.4 million service members have returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Because many did multiple tours of duty and were subjected to higher rates of traumatic brain injuries caused by explosives, rates of PTSD among them surpass those of the Vietnam War. Dr. Bob Zepecki of the All Pet Center in HSV has helped veterans from World War II to Afghanistan. He himself served in the National Guard. He says a dog's companionship helps veterans bring out a feeling of love, they take order when trained properly, and they help reduce stress. For the past five years, he's been able to help 56 veterans by training service dogs for free. "The dogs understand when a seizer is coming on or a diabetic episode is coming on, they'll lick the face or lay down next to him," said Dr. Bob. Veteran Chris Morton brought his two Rottweiler's to Dr. Bob on Saturday for their first training. Even before training, Morton saw the impact a dog has on his PTSD. "With nightmares and stuff, it's kind of tough then having seizers on top of that. It's good to have him," said Morton. Morton served in the military for over six years. He was repelling from a helicopter when he fell about 60 feet, injuring his legs back and head. "He's like my security blanket," said Morton talking about his dog. If you're a veteran seeking a service dog, call Dr. Bob at 501.626.0237.