Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The Best Prescription Possible

Continuing my (deeply) irregular series of reasons why dogs are amongst the greatest things on this Earth, I present a New York Times article on training dogs to help soldiers with PTSD.
If Mr. Hyde says “block,” the dog will stand perpendicularly in front of him to keep other people at a distance. If he asks Mya to “get his back,” the dog will sit facing backward by his side. The dogs are trained to jolt a soldier from a flashback, dial 911 on a phone and even sense a panic attack before it starts. And, perhaps most important, the veterans’ sense of responsibility, optimism and self-awareness is renewed by caring for the dogs.
This reminds of two things. First, dogs are damn awesome when you train them right. Jolt a soldier from a flashback? That's a whole new level of canine genius. Second, someone somewhere has medical data that having a dog increases your optimism. Not that I needed anyone to tell me that, of course; even just from visiting Storm at my parents I've assembled some pretty conclusive proof. It's nice to know that it's not just me that gets it, though. Without wishing to go anywhere near the politics of the USA's current military endeavours, it makes me abnormally happy to think that dogs are being given to broken people, in the hope that it will heal them.

And who can we thank for this? That would be Al Franken. You know, that guy various Republicans predicted would bring shame to the Senate because he used to write jokes for a living, and who last hit the headlines for sponsoring a bill that would force government-funded organisations to allow their employees access to the legal system. Not bad for a guy who spent a year thinking up as many nicknames for Rush Limbaugh as he possibly could.

h/t to Anne Laurie, whose post includes a truly beautiful photograph that I would feel like an absolute cad were I to swipe it. That's why I settled for the picture above, which depicts my latest cuddly toy, kindly given to me by A for my birthday. I still haven't thought up of a name for the little thing. I considered Josh for a while, but I ultimately decided that that would be too strange. Besides, I'm pretty sure she's a she. Any naming suggestions welcome. You people are good at that. I still have fond memories of asking for ideas for the name of a battlecruiser and eventually whittling them down to "Lord Bastard."

That does not mean my puppy is going to be called "Lady Bitch".


Nemain said...

Something with a D maybe?


I like Daina. :)

SpaceSquid said...

How is Daina pronounced?