Military Dog Suffers Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderPublished August 3, 2010
A bomb-sniffing dog, Gina, is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after a close encounter with an improvised bomb.In war-torn areas like Iraq and Afghanistan, countless servicemen and women face harrowing situations and feel adrenaline-rushing terror on a daily basis. Sadly, this violence isn't reserved for the battlefields, and the memories often accompany soldiers home. Now, some military veterinarians believe that service dogs like Gina, a 2-year-old German shepherd, can also be left traumatized after life-threatening experiences.
A year ago, Gina dutifully served the military as a bomb-sniffing dog in Iraq. She fearlessly entered buildings after soldiers had knocked down doors and detonated flash-bang grenades. Despite the noisy chaos, Gina thrived as a playful dog.
But after one fateful event, when an improvised bomb hit a nearby vehicle, Gina's silly demeanor simply vanished. All that was left was a terrified dog that couldn't even enter a building without freezing up and tucking her tail under her body.
Gina's handlers were baffled and heart-broken at her sudden change.
After returning home to Colorado, Gina's handlers consulted the military veterinarian. The vet diagnosed Gina with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - a common diagnosis for soldiers after facing life-threatening trauma in battles.
PTSD is a condition marked by three symptoms: re-experience of trauma in dreams and memories, attempts to avoid the situations and feelings reminiscent of the trauma, and constant feelings of intense anxiety.
Thankfully, after dedicating a year to befriending people and getting re-accustomed to the noises of military life, Gina's PTSD has improved. She no longer freezes before walking through doorways and she even allows strangers to pet her.
However, a military vet claimed that Gina may never fully recover and return to the line of fire.
What do you think about Gina's story? Please leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions.