There is a critical need for the use of dogs in the rehabilitation of veterans with physical disabilities, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI). Recent federal government reports highlight the following facts:
- 767,000 active duty military personnel have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder (2001 – 2015);
- 350,898 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD (2001 – 2015);
- 327,299 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans have been diagnosed with TBI (2001 – 2015);
- 52,351 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans wounded in action, including 1,645 major limb amputees (2001 – 2015);
- More than 970,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veteran disability claims have been registered with the VA (as of 2014);
- There are cascading consequences of untreated depression and PTSD to include criminal activity, drug abuse, lost productivity, unemployment, marital problems and suicide;
- Data as of 2014 indicate that, on average, 20 veterans commit suicide each day.