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puerto rico service dog laws

The Life Changing Power of Resilience

PTSD affects an estimated 13 million people in the United States of America.  There are roughly 500,000 trained service dogs in America, helping people live better quality lives. We specialize in training handlers to learn to guide their dog into becoming a much more relaxed, emotionally stable, and skillful companion's that support and enhance their independence and well-being not just perform tricks. 

What we know...

  • What is resilience?

Resilience is not only the absence of post-traumatic stress after a traumatic experience, but also an individual’s ability to take something positive from adversity (Cyrulnik, 2003). An individual may display resilience to one traumatic event, while developing symptoms of post-traumatic stress to another (Damiani & Vaillant, 2003). 

  • What is a traumatic event?  

An event is considered traumatic if the person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013). 

  • What is posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

Posttraumatic stress disorder, is diagnosed by a medical doctor, it is a psychological reaction that can manifest itself after a traumatic event.  A person who develops PTSD will display four types of symptoms:

  1. Intrusions, including continually re-experiencing the event through intrusive thoughts or unwanted dreams.

  2. Avoiding stimuli related to the traumatic event, either consciously or unconsciously.

  3. Negative cognitions or mood related to oneself or the world around them.

  4. Hyperarousal, including irritability, difficulty sleeping, feeling constantly on guard.

  • Is it common to have a traumatic experience?

Common events that are reported to having PTSD include, but are not limited to unexpected death of a loved one, sexual assault, and seeing someone badly injured or killed (Ameringen, Mancini & Boyle, 2008). 

  • Is it common to develop PTSD after experiencing a traumatic event?

It is not known why some develop PTSD and others do not. The proportion varies greatly according to the type of event and the individual. Though men tend to experience potentially traumatic events more frequently than women, women are more likely to meet the criteria for PTSD (Tolin & Foa, 2006).

  • What other problems can people develop after a traumatic experience?

Major depression is a common problem following exposure to trauma. It is characterized by a consistently depressed mood and a loss of interest in daily activities, among other symptoms. This differs from the typical ‘’blues’’ that everyone experiences. Roughly 50% of individuals with PTSD will also suffer from depression (Rytwinski, Scur, Feeny, & Youngstrom, 2013). Other co-morbid disorders may occur: anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, and other health-related conditions (Brady, Killeen, Brewerton, & Lucerini, 2000).

In many of life's stressful situations it is  impossible for a sufferer of PTS to get out of them independently.  We teach handlers to trust the nose of their dog, because situations that seem relatively harmless to most people, such as being approached on the street or going grocery shopping can be the beginning of an an unbearable moment for someone with PTS.  One of the task of our service dogs is to watch the back of their handler which removes hyper-vigilence in that situation.  

Canine Assistance Puerto Rico service dogs detect the hormones that increase tension in the handler with Post-traumatic Stress.   Our dogs learn to smell changes in stress hormones in the body.  An increase in stress hormone can lead to a panic attack in the handler.

In addition to detecting the rise of tension, we teach the dog to indicate to the handler with a clearly learned action. Our dogs do not whine or bark, this is usually a stress reaction from the dog itself and can trigger the handler to more tension or even dissociation.  By giving a timely warning to the handler a panic attack can be greatly reduced and even not experienced at all.  Thereby giving the handler relief.

Join us and discover a whole new world with our furry friends.

Saludos,
Training a pet to become disciplined, patient, and purposeful takes time and care. In the process of training my pet to become an assistance dog, I gained a much better relationship with her that allowed for an impeccable bond, gaining resilience, return of my mental wellness, and a more joyful life that anyone may find valuable. Which is why there are many misconceptions of what a service does and how to train it. Our programs make it possible to get your independence back. 

Canine Assistance Foundation, is our 501(c)(3) organization serving others suffering Post Traumatic Stress to gain resilience and have a better quality of life. Here, you will find support, resources, and information on how to help yourself or a loved one with mental conditions.  

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