horse, cat days of summer.”
It is a well established fact that the human animal
bond affects our bodies at many levels.
Taking care of an animal requires feeding,
grooming, walking, playing with or interacting with the
animal, which adds to daily exercise time.
Dog owners can get up to 77 per cent of the
activity required for health simply by walking their pets
five times a week. Social
interaction with animals increases levels of oxytocin,
dubbed the ‘love hormone.’
It has been shown that dogs also produce this
hormone, so it’s not much of a leap to think other
animals do too, and that yes, feelings between human and
beast can be mutually affectionate.
Companion animals and service animals are now pretty
familiar to Canadians.
They help and support people with physical or
mental challenges to go about the tasks of daily living.
Now it’s been discovered that animals can help in
therapy for such conditions as post-traumatic stress
cats, horses, llamas, even dolphins, have been used in
therapy sessions. Veterans
Affairs Canada has thrown $50,000 behind research into the
benefit of using animals to assist veterans dealing with
post traumatic stress disorder.
St. John Ambulance whose therapy dog teams provide 180,000
hours of national service annually and Can Praxis in
Alberta have been given $250,000 to further research into
benefits of animal-aided therapy and have completed a
pilot project employing horses to help veterans and their
families cope with post-traumatic stress disorder and
let’s not forget The Canadian Service Dog Foundation
that assist non-military Canadians too.
There is a nice little story in Legion Magazine about a
Korean War Veteran who was ordered to lead a patrol of
four soldiers into no man’s land.
They were to escort a “sniffer” dog searching
for random land mines in front of their position.
At the meeting place, they met a scruffy looking,
indeterminate-breed dog and an engineer handler.
His orders were, if we were engaged by an enemy, to
save (in this order) the dog, the handler and themselves!
That pretty much says it all about the importance
of animals in war and just so you know, they all made it
The Canadian Government declared 2013 the Year of
the Korean War Veteran.
We who were not there should feel very grateful
indeed and should honour their sacrifices by attending
commemorations wherever they are held.
Stay tuned for details from Branch 142.