Join Fox News for access to this content
Plus special access to select articles and other premium content with your account - free of charge.
By entering your email and pushing continue, you are agreeing to Fox News' Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which includes our Notice of Financial Incentive.
Please enter a valid email address.
By entering your email and pushing continue, you are agreeing to Fox News' Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which includes our Notice of Financial Incentive.

This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

The positive impact of service dogs on the mental health of U.S. military veterans has been widely recognized.

Now, the first clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) looked into exactly how pairing service dogs with PTSD-diagnosed veterans improves symptoms.

FDA PANEL REJECTS MDMA-ASSISTED THERAPIES FOR PTSD DESPITE HIGH HOPES FROM VETERANS

As June marks PTSD Awareness Month, the University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine partnered with K9s For Warriors – the nation’s largest provider of trained service dogs, based in Florida – to study over 156 military veterans over three months, based on their self-reported symptoms and doctors' assessments. 

The largest nationwide survey of its kind analyzed service dog partnerships in 81 vets compared to those who received traditional care without a dog.

Veterans dogs

Marine Corps veteran Bill Lins, a sergeant from 2004 to 2016, is pictured here with his dog, Link. Lins suffered from PTSD and a traumatic brain injury after he left the service. (K9s for Warriors)

The study looked at each participant's PTSD symptoms, including psychosocial functioning, quality of life and social health.

Veterans with service dogs were found to have a 66% lower chance of a PTSD diagnosis compared to a control group without dogs.

These respondents also experienced lower levels of anxiety and depression, as well as improvements in most areas of emotional and social well-being, the study found.

K9s for Warriors chief program officer Kevin Steele noted in a press release that service dogs are "life-saving and life-transforming" for veterans.

Bill Lins with Link

"Asking for help is a sign of strength," Marine veteran Bill Lins, pictured with his dog, Link, told Fox News Digital. (K9s for Warriors)

"These dogs have enabled our warriors to better connect with family, friends and their community and to begin living the life they previously didn’t think was possible," he said. "The results of this study further prove that what we do here at K9s works."

Lead study author Dr. Maggie O’Haire of the University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine told Fox News Digital, "I think that service dogs have become increasingly popular for veterans, specifically for PTSD, and I think that for a while, we could support this based on anecdotes or emotional intuition."

VET WHO LOST MILITARY ‘BROTHERS’ TO POST-WAR SUICIDE CALLS FOR URGENT CHANGE: ‘WE COULD DO BETTER’

She added, "But now that this practice is growing, we see the need for evidence on a scientific basis."

O’Haire suggested that some clinicians feel "ill-equipped" to support this mode of therapy, which is why the evidence is so important.

a dog sitting in front of his veteran

The first clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) looked into how pairing service dogs with PTSD-diagnosed veterans improves symptoms for those suffering from it. (iStock)

"We can increase effectiveness, reduce side effects, and make it better for both the person and the animal," she said. 

"And we do that through systematic collection of data on how it's working."

ON PTSD AWARENESS DAY, IMPORTANT HELP FOR VETERANS, MILITARY SERVICE MEMBERS IN SEARCH OF BETTER SLEEP

The co-author mentioned that each veteran involved in the study had an "incredible story" of survival.

"It’s not uncommon for me to hear from a veteran, ‘I would not be alive if it were not for my service dog,’" she said. 

"It’s not uncommon for me to hear from a veteran, ‘I would not be alive if it were not for my service dog.'"

"We know that veterans are struggling. They're facing high rates of anxiety, depression and even suicide. And what we see is that, in addition to evidence-based care, they're also seeking out service dogs."

An estimated 23% of military members and veterans with post-9/11 service have PTSD, according to NIH research. Veterans are also more likely to die by suicide than non-veterans.

A veteran's success story

Marine Corps veteran Bill Lins, a sergeant from 2004 to 2016, battled with mental health issues, suffering from PTSD and a traumatic brain injury after leaving the service.

A MARATHON IN EVERY STATE: NAVY VET AND FORMER NYPD COP RUNS ACROSS US TO HELP DESERVING NONPROFIT

Lins, who is now a mental health therapist, sat on the advisory panel for the NIH service dog study. He told Fox News Digital he was once in the same dark place as many other veterans.

"I was a very absent parent," he said. "I could force myself through the motions, but I was very detached."

Bill Lins with Link

Bill Lins is pictured with Link in front of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Today a mental health therapist, Lins sat on the advisory panel for the NIH service dog study.? (K9s for Warriors)

"I knew I loved my kids, but I couldn't feel it – and that felt really wrong," he went on. 

"It felt really shameful. And that’s [what] highlighted that maybe something bigger was going on."

Lins considered that having "no identity" after leaving the Marine Corps fed into some other bad habits, like drinking and taking unnecessary risks.

"I was dumped back out into the world to get a job and be a dad," he said. "It was tough." 

GEORGIA POLICE SERGEANT TOUTS ‘AMAZING’ ABILITIES OF K9 COMPANION IN BOOK: MADE HIM A ‘BETTER HUMAN’

Lins' wife ultimately filed for divorce. "I was kind of just floating and had no idea where to go," he said.

When he saw another veteran friend with a service dog who had a "lightness" to him, Lins decided to apply for a companion of his own.

"I don't know how they picked such a remarkably perfect animal to pair with me."

The veteran eventually heard from K9s for Warriors, who placed him with his service dog, Link, in Aug. 2022.

"I don't know how they picked such a remarkably perfect animal to pair with me," he said. 

"I took him to the pool, and I remember laughing, watching him run. And I thought, ‘I can't remember the last time I really laughed.’"

Lins described Link, a 72-pound lab mix, as a "wonderfully mannered, remarkable animal."

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR HEALTH NEWSLETTER

"He wants nothing more than to make everyone around him happy," Lins said. "That is his life's mission."

"He has done a 180 in my world, and my kids are all so thankful that he's here," he added. "My entire family loves him. He just hands out happiness and expects nothing in return."

Bill Lins with Link

"He has done a 180 in my world," said Bill Lins, pictured with his dog, Link. "My entire family loves him. He just hands out happiness and expects nothing in return." (K9s for Warriors)

Having a service dog is a distraction from "the things that you worry about," Lins said.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

"The bond is so strong that I worry about him so much more than myself," he said. "I get to stay present as opposed to [getting] lost in my own thoughts."

For other veterans seeking help, Lins recommended having a service dog as a source of comfort when things get difficult.

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews/health

"He's always there. He's never judgmental," he said. "I can have any emotion that I want. I can have nightmares and be upset. And there's no shame around him. I don't have to hide things."

He added, "He intuitively wants to be there and take care of me the same way that I want to be there and take care of him."

드라마 다시보기 NBA중계Link vào w88 mới nhất để chơi cá cược thể thao trực tuyến với nhà cái uy tín W88. Đây là những link w88 đượ cập nhật thường xuyên. Link vào w88 để chơi casino trực tuyến, cá cược thể thao, poker, băn cá. Hãy vào trang web nay để xem các link w88 của nhà cái uy tín nhất Việt Nam hiện nay. Cung cấp link w88 trên máy tính để bàn, link w88 trên điện thoại nên rất thuận tiện cho việc chơi cá cược trực tuyến. Hãy truy cập link w88 ở đây để ủng nhé. Link đăng nhập w88 mới nhất 2019
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news