BRECKSVILLE, Ohio - When Frank DeLorenzo returned home from serving in Iraq, things did not go smoothly. DeLorenzo was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and a traumatic brain injury. Flashbacks, nightmares and panic attacks are just three of the issues he has to deal with.
DeLorenzo found an unusual solution - Sophie. Sophie is a pit bull that was rescued from the Cleveland Kennel. With proper training, Sophie can now remind DeLorenzo when to take his medication, wake him from his nightmares and essentially, watch his back.
With all of the success DeLorenzo had with Sophie, he decided to start Wags 4 Warriors . Dogs are often acquired from local kennels with many of them being just hours away from being euthanized. Once a dog has been screened, it is then paired with a qualifying veteran.
"The dogs are like a form of medication for us. We are being prescribed these dogs by VA doctors," DeLorenzo said.
Animals have been known to recognize anxiety in humans long before humans even realize it. Something as simple as petting a dog can refocus a person's attention and help reduce stress.
DeLorenzo and his wife, Jen, provide all of the training needed to help combat veterans suffering from PTSD and TBI. The dogs and all of the training, equipment and support are free. They rely on donations and support from various organizations to cover costs.
"We currently have 30 to 40 dogs and veterans in the program that are being trained. Wags 4 Warriors pays for everything" said DeLorenzo.
Wags 4 Warriors is located in Brecksville, Ohio
You can visit their website at wags4warriors.org