Help Is On the Way for Both Pit Bulls and War Veterans
You may be familiar with the work of Tia Torres who rescues pit bulls and hires parolees to assist her in running her rescue, but she isn't the only organization aimed at rehabilitation of both pits and people alike. Guardian Pit Bull Rescue (GPBR), located in Houston, Texas, is taking on a similar task but instead of parolees, this rescue is rehabilitating war veterans with PTSD. In conjunction with Club Canine, a dog training facility in Houston, GPBR is launching "Operation Pits Healing Heroes," a campaign where rescued pit bulls will be paired with war veterans. The pair will train together for five to nine months, with the ultimate goal of the dogs being able to provide both physical and emotional support to veterans.
The program, about 10 weeks old, currently has just one pit bull-veteran pair: a 3-year-old pit bull named Pancake and a Marine veteran named Justin Masters. Masters, husband of GPBR volunteer Lauren Masters, met Pancake and immediately felt some relief from his PTSD symptoms. In an interview with Houston Matters, Masters said “[Pancake] is like my medicine … He calms my soul. He just makes my life a whole lot easier.”
PTSD affects over 20% of veterans who were in Iraq or Afghanistan and anything can trigger a flashback. For Masters, having Pancake there during a flashback helps calm him down. He also mentions how veterans who have flashbacks are misunderstood just like pit bulls, so the two make a good pair.
Operation Pits Healing Heroes is still in its early stages and are always in need of volunteers, donations and foster families. Find out more about this organization and how you can help here.