Previously Suicidal Veteran Is Training Dogs To Place With Vets Who Have PTSDThe Veterans Site
After tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, veteran Eric Wolfe was ready to end his life. However, he pulled the gun from his mouth, hugged his wife and decided that PTSD was no longer going to rule him. Today he operates Project 22, which places dogs in the homes of vets with PTSD.
During Wolfe's tours overseas, his job was training dogs to locate bombs. Now he trains them to detect the explosive episodes in the life of a vet with PTSD and helps the vet in coping.
PTSD makes it difficult for veterans, including Wolfe, to readjust to life back home. Statistically, the disorder is responsible for an average of 22 suicides each day, a number Wolfe used to name of his project. Working with the Arizona Animal Welfare League, Wolfe trains dogs prior to placement in the vets' homes. Wolfe trains abandoned pit bulls for service, so his work also benefits the dogs by providing them with new homes.
The program is funded entirely by private donations and takes no money for placing the dogs. The service dogs provide help to their vet owners on a daily basis. The dogs can listen without judgment and let the individual know that someone cares about them.
Wolfe's dedication goes beyond training the dogs. Friends describe him as being available by phone 24/7 to help fellow veterans. If issues develop with a dog, he is available to provide assistance. He believes the more dogs he trains to help with the disorder the more lives he can save.Service dogs provide assistance for veterans. Some serve as eyes and ears while others tug or retrieve. Training a service dog to meet the needs of a veteran can sometimes take up to 24 months. Read how some states are using prisoners to train these dogs for important jobs like aiding veterans.