Puppies Behind Bars.

Via on Apr 4, 2010

prisoners, soldiers, puppies behind bars

I nearly cried, this morning, reading about Puppies Behind Bars.

Prisoners training puppies, funded by our government, for traumatized soldiers? It’s a happy story all the way around, a profiled in today’s New York Times. Excerpt:

Just weeks after Chris Goehner, 25, an Iraq war veteran, got a dog, he was able to cut in half the dose of anxiety and sleep medications he took for post-traumatic stress disorder. The night terrors and suicidal thoughts that kept him awake for days on end ceased.
Aaron Ellis, 29, another Iraq veteran with the stress disorder, scrapped his medications entirely soon after getting a dog — and set foot in a grocery store for the first time in three years…

But when Gloria Gilbert Stoga, who runs Puppies Behind Bars, received an application from Maj. James Becker, she decided, with support from his doctors, to take a chance on a veteran who had just left inpatient care.

Major Becker, 45, suffered two severe brain injuries in separate explosions, earning two Purple Hearts in his three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. When he came home last winter, his 24-year-old daughter, also an Iraq veteran, was being treated for leukemia.

In Major Becker’s mind, home started to resemble Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. His P.T.S.D. symptoms worsened, and a suicide attempt in July landed him in San Diego Naval Medical Center for seven months. A few weeks after leaving the San Diego hospital, Major Becker flew to New York to collect his dog, Annie, and participate in a two-week training session with Puppies Behind Bars. Still, he said he spent a lot of time alone in his room “because it’s easier to deal with four walls than it is to come out and deal with crowds.”

But within days, Annie was beginning to pull him out of his shell. “She helps me meet people,” he said, describing how people are attracted to the dog...for the whole article, and it’s well worth it, click over to the New York Times.

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About Alex Myles

Alex Myles is qualified as a Yoga teacher, Reiki Master, Teacher of Tibetan Meditation, Dragon Magic and a Spiritual coach to name just a few. Alex has no intention to teach others on a formal basis for many years to come, instead, she is collecting qualifications along with life’s lessons. One day, when the time is right, Alex will set up a quaint studio, in a quirky crooked building where she will breathe and appreciate the slowness of those days as life is just way too busy right now! Reading and writing has always been one of Alex’s passions. Alex likes to consider herself as a free spirit rather than a commitment-phobe. Trying to live as aligned to a Buddhist lifestyle as is possible in this day and age, she just does not believe in "owning" anything or anyone. Based on the theory that we ‘cannot lose someone that was not ours to lose’ she flails through life finding joy and magic in the most unexpected places. Mother to a 21 year old daughter and three adorable pups, she appreciates that some of the best moments in life are the 6am forest walks watching the dogs run, play and interact with one another and with nature. Connect with her on Facebook and check out her blog, Love and Madness. 

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