Local Veteran Credits Dog For Treating His PTSD

By: Shane McAuliffe Email
By: Shane McAuliffe Email

Mike Cowden and his dog Janie have quickly become best friends.

The two have only been together for a month but the effect Janie's had on Mike is inspiring.

"She's got back," said Mike.

Janie is a VetDog, a dog trained to help disabled veterans and active duty personnel. Her owner Mike served in the Marines during the Vietnam War and deals with impaired hearing and post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

"Stress got bad on me after 9-11 because I started having flashbacks and thinking about what all those young kids were going through. I just knew what they were fixing to get into and it just started bringing back memories of the past," said Mike.

The stress took its toll on Mike. For three years, he didn't even leave his home. His wife Brenda had to run all the errands.

"No one knew him in town," said Brenda.

But one day Brenda heard about the VetDog program and signed Mike up.

"I knew it would take the stress and the fear of being out public with him. Constantly scared, always looking around, being vigilant all of the time," said Brenda.

So after a long application process, Mike brought home Janie before Christmas and she's already made a world of difference.

"She stays right there with you 24-7. She's like a companion," said Mike.

"It's so much better because he's ready to go everyday somewhere now. He's ready to get out and do things where he used to just stay here," said Brenda.

Mike is now able to go shopping with his wife and even out to eat but if he starts feeling stressed, Janie is able to sense it.

"She can hear stuff coming up behind and people coming up behind me in restaurants, she blocks. It takes a lot of stress off of you. If you get in a bad situation, like in a (crowded) store, you can tell her lets go and she'll get you out of there," said Mike.

An amazing case of man's best friend doing their job to serve man.

For more information on the America's VetDogs program, we've got a link to their website below.

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