This blog post and video was produced by MC1 Margaret Trujillo, with DMA, who tells us how “man’s best friend” is helping our wounded troops.
Military Working Dogs and civilian K-9 units are known for their security work and for saving lives. However, there’s another group of military working dogs at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center that have nothing to do with security. They’re therapy dogs and even hold military rank. I got to follow the dogs through their day and wanted to share what they do from a different perspective.
Southeastern Guide Dogs provides the dogs to the hospital. The dogs get their training there as seeing eye dogs, but get career reassignment for any number of reasons. The obedience they learn at the guide dog school, along with their personalities, make them perfect candidates to act as therapy dogs.
Each dog has a distinct personality, which helps fulfill a different mission. Besides visiting wounded warriors and the staff, the dogs also assist with physical therapy, playing fetch or tug-of-war to help patients have fun while recovering. They even work with children, especially those who enjoy a furry, friendly face.
From my point of view, it seems like the program is working since the dogs bring smiles to faces throughout the hospital as they walk the halls wagging their tails.