Stiggy's Dogs helps dogs, veterans come together

By Steve Garagiola - Reporter/Anchor
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DETROIT - Based in Howell, Michigan, "Stiggy's Dogs" matches military veterans recovering from PTSD with rescue dogs trained as Psychiatric Service Dogs.

Studies indicate that 1 in 8 soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq have some symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.  Feelings of anxiety, depression and detachment make returning to civilian life difficult for some veterans.

Those veterans living with TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) have their own unique needs.

Studies have also shown that 82 percent of people with PTSD who were assigned a service dog had a decrease in symptoms. That includes a decreased need for medication in 40 percent of the people studied.

There are an estimated 5 million dogs in shelters across America, many of whom will be euthanized.  Many of the dogs could make an excellent service dog for a veteran living with PTSD and/or TBI, according to Stiggy's Dogs.

"I was having a lot of flashbacks that I avoided for over twenty years," said U.S. Army Desert Storm veteran Joe. "Having Pugsie helps me because I know she's got my back."

By uniting the two, they rescue one to rescue another.

"It's very rare you get a situation make two wrongs into a right," said director of administration Kim Saks McManaway. "This is one of them. There are five million dogs sitting in shelters in this country. At the same time, every day 20 veterans take their own lives. If you can put them together it can give each a sense of purpose."

Tonight on Local 4 at 11 p.m. Steve Garagiola will bring you the story of Stiggy's Dogs, and how it works to improve this problem.

For more information about Stiggy's Dogs, visit this website.

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