Monday, September 19, 2011

Pet Therapy Program grows (four) legs in Fort Knox

Brenda Adams and her Golden Retriever, Valentine, graduate from the Fort Knox Pet Therapy program.

Fort Knox went to the dogs on September 15, as 12 pups graduated from Pet Therapy training. Under the wing of the Clark County Red Cross Chapter in Southern Indiana, the Fort Knox Service Center is starting four programs in which the trained pets will provide comfort and companionship to others including soldiers on base.

Puppy Tales at Barr Memorial Library in Fort Knox encourages kids to read by giving them an opportunity to spend time with participating dogs.

Wounded Warriors takes trained pets into hospitals where they visit injured soldiers.

Welcome Home to the Troops takes trained pets to greet soldiers who are returning from deployment overseas.

K9 Assisted Therapy, undertaken by dogs and trainers with the help of an occupational therapist, will provide pet therapy to soldiers including those who have suffered brain injuries and others who are dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Brenda Adams hopes the K9 Assisted Therapy program will be able to provide the same kind of comfort to others as her dogs did with her late father.

After suffering a stroke, Brenda's father stopped speaking and lost interest in his previous hobbies. The one thing that brought him out of his shell was Brenda's dogs. When she noticed his attentiveness while watching her dogs, Brenda further encouraged her father's involvement eventually organizing a dog training contest for him to focus on accomplishing a goal.

This is the same kind of therapy the group is hoping to provide for the soldiers—creating a bond between the soldier and pet therapy team in a non-hospital or clinic setting. If you are interested in becoming involved with any of the Fort Knox Pet Therapy programs, please contact the service center at 502-624-2163.