The Scoop Deck

VIDEO: Puppy power for wounded warriors

Were the turtles not cute enough for you? Don’t worry, Scoop Deck has you covered:

Those of you who made it through the video without cuteness-induced euphoria may want to know more about the Warrior Canine Connection, which helps veterans with combat-related psychological issues train service dogs for fellow vets.

The Navy’s All Hands magazine put the group in the spotlight in a recent piece, highlighting the work of one WCC-trained dog at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda, Md.

In the video, Puppy Program Manager and Trainer Cheryl Tipton outlines the training process. It’s the first stage of what will be a lifetime of support these pups provide to service members — first working with a trainer, then as a service dog for a wounded warrior, and later, in retirement, as that warrior’s trusted companion.

Research into the warrior-canine bond is extensive, but some of the benefits are basic. For example, WCC founder Rick Yount explained in a 2012 piece how those suffering from post-traumatic stress often seek to avoid human interaction — which is next to impossible when you’re in public with a bright-eyed pooch.

“Then the [option] to isolate is impossible,” Yount said in the piece. “If you take a golden retriever or Labrador into the public, people are going to interact with you. They serve as social lubricant to reduce isolation.”

The benefits aren’t limited to those who receive the dogs, either. Marshall Peters, a former hospital corpsman, said the personal progress made by the WCC’s veteran trainers was gradual, but remarkable.

“Seeing the transformation from when they get here on Day 1, they don’t talk to you much and they don’t make a lot of eye contact and some of them have a lot of high anxiety and things,” Peters told All Hands. “By the fourth week, they’re laughing and joking and hanging out with the dogs. In that short period of time, a tremendous amount of healing goes on.”

Learn more about the WCC’s mission here. Find out how to donate here.

Still not cute enough for you? Check out the group’s dedicated “Puppy Cam” here.

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