We launched our PTSD Service Dogs programme for IDF veterans suffering from post-trauma five years ago, and have since created 15 life-changing partnerships. The success of these dogs in giving traumatised veterans the support they need to face the world without fear once again has led to Israel’s Ministry of Defence now officially partnering with the Centre to further fund and develop this life changing endeavour.

Many IDF veterans, as well as civilians, suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a debilitating condition. Studies – and reports from our clients – demonstrate that PTSD dogs can significantly alleviate the frequency and severity of traumatic symptoms, including nightmares and flashbacks. 

In 2018, the Israel Guide Dog Centre launched a pilot programme to train service dogs specifically for IDF veterans suffering from acute PTSD. Like guide dogs, PTSD Service Dogs are transformational – extending into every area of our clients’ lives. It’s crucial we team each person with a dog best suited for his/her capabilities, lifestyle, mobility, personality, and psychological needs. As with guide dogs, when we accept an applicant, we must carefully match them with a dog right for them. The power of this bond can turn ordinary moments into extraordinary ones. 

PTSD dogs can calm IDF veterans during panic attacks, wake them from nightmares and stabilise and calm them in public situations. This helps IDF veterans who have given their all for their country to feel safer, lowering anxiety when reacting to loud noises, and helping them forge connections and companionship to reduce depression, isolation, and guilt feelings. 

We have already seen PTSD dogs make huge improvements in our clients’ lives. It turns out that when someone suffering from PTSD knows they can rely on their four-legged best friend, the frequency and intensity of their nightmares are consistently reduced. 

Additionally, people with PTSD assume greater responsibility when they care for their dog. They get up earlier, take the dog out, feed and groom the dog, and take care of it. This gives them a purpose, a reason to get out of bed every morning, and creates a very positive routine.