'I have a sense of purpose': How service dogs help veterans cope with PTSD

'I have a sense of purpose': How service dogs help veterans cope with PTSD

by Steve Beynon
Stars and Stripes

WASHINGTON — Damian Jungermann knows what it's like to experience severely dark moments after multiple combat tours overseas. But he said Shai – a mixed-breed Plott Hound — has been a critical part of his recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder since they met last year.

“When I returned from Afghanistan, I was diagnosed with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries. I wanted to stay in my apartment away from everyone, but now with Shai I’m engaging in the world more. I’m going to the park and sleeping better. Shai has given me a quality of life that I had lost.”

Jungermann, 45, was a Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician and served three deployments to Afghanistan, sometimes working with special operations units such as SEAL Team 3 and 5 and the Third and Seventh Special Forces groups. EOD troops are responsible for disarming and safely removing improvised explosive devices, which are responsible for the majority of combat deaths since 9/11.

“I had issues, but I didn’t really know I had issues,” he said. “I had huge rage problems, I picked up a grocery cart and threw it and thought it was OK. I wasn’t a drinker, but I was super impulsive.”

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.616788

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