Carbondale group pairs veterans with PTSD service dogs - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Carbondale group pairs veterans with PTSD service dogs

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CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Veterans from around the country came to southern Illinois on Monday to meet their new Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) service dogs. The free program through This Able Veteran organization in Carbondale helps veterans work through service-time trauma along with their new canine helpers. 

One participant is California resident, Carissa Rawson, who served in the Air Force for seven years and was deployed to Jordan for six months. She looked into service dog programs after talking with her therapist and has been paired up with Britt. 

"I thought she looked like a very sweet dog (in pictures), but I didn't realize how emotional the union was going to be," Rawson says. "I hope that she can give me some peace. Help me find my own peace."

Another participant is Eric Provow, a 20-year veteran serving in both the Marine Corps and Air Force. He was deployed to Afghanistan twice and Iraq once, "I was involved in some fire fights over there that have haunted me since I got out." 

A previous program participant saw Provow talking about PTSD on a news segment in Virginia and recommended him. "I think Denny and I together are going to be a team and he’s going to help me kinda with my anxiety and my stress," Provow says. 

Over the next three weeks, veterans will receive tools to process and work through some of their trauma, and train with their dogs. The training includes going to Southern Illinois Airport to learn flight etiquette.

Both Rawson and Provow say they're ready for the challenges that lay ahead. "I look forward to the personal growth, the program focuses on us the veterans helping us deal with whatever struggles we have,  and I also look forward to being paired up with Denny and learning about him," says Provow. 

The program concludes with a graduation ceremony on December 14th.

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