It’s been a bustling summer for Canines Providing Assistance to Wounded Warriors (C-P.A.W.W.). The research team has been working on several different projects, and is preparing to begin a new research investigation examining the physiological and psychological stress effects that walking shelter dogs has upon the canines themselves as well as upon veterans coping with post-traumatic stress disorder who will be participating in the dog walking program.
In March, Cheryl KrauseParello, PhD, RN, FAAN, provided testimony on a bill geared toward developing a state-sponsored program to teach veterans to train their own service dogs. Dr. Krause-Parello's testimony focused predominantly upon highlighting the vital impact that service dogs have upon invisible wounds such as post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury within the veteran population.
She also spoke on the costs and specialized training of service dogs and underscored the overarching need for psychiatric service dogs to be considered a reimbursable medical expense. More than simply speaking on a bill, this was a critical opportunity to share information with state lawmakers about the benefits of service dogs for invisible wounds from a scientific perspective.
Many veterans who have worked with C-P.A.W.W. on past projects and who have their own service dogs took to the stand to speak on the bill. The bill passed 11-2, progressed on to various other committees for more refinement and improvement based on key input from stakeholders, trainers, and veterans themselves, and was recently officially passed into law.
Dr. Krause-Parello and Michael Rice, PhD, APRN, FAAN, traveled to San Antonio, Texas to present findings from their ongoing Veterans Suicide Protection community engagement project at the 2016 Conference for Community Engagement and Healthcare Improvement, and they presented the project at the University of Colorado-sponsored Engaging Communities in Education and Research Conference in Breckenridge October 14-16.
This summer, Dr. Krause-Parello also had the honor of presenting preliminary findings on C-P.A.W.W.’s ongoing research project regarding Animal-Assisted Interventions for Patient Stress During Aeromedical Evacuation at the Triservice Nursing Research Program Dissemination Course.
Professional Research Assistant Eleni Padden, BA, presented on C-P.A.W.W.’s recent projects and the importance of advocating for human-animal interaction research and, in particular, research on service dogs for veterans at the 2016 Service Dog Education and Awareness Conference in Englewood, Colorado this July. The conference was aimed at informing handlers, trainers, business owners, hospitality, general public, law enforcement, firefighters, and EMTs about the use of service dogs and the vital importance of service dogs to the mental and physical health of various populations.
Dr. Krause-Parello and her husband, a marine veteran, as well as their dachshund Daisy, participated in Patti’s Ride, an annual charity bike ride benefitting C-P.A.W.W. and Trumbull Family in Fitness in Warren, Ohio. C-P.A.W.W. was also honored to be featured at Stapleton’s Theater on the Green’s Non-Profit of the Night in July, as well as one of 5280’s March Charitable Picks. The C-P.A.W.W. group and its community affiliates recently attended the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System’s Annual Mental Health Summit, Building Bridges, in August. This event was aimed at providing community mental health resources to veterans and their families, which is an integral aspect of C-P.A.W.W.’s mission.
Finally, team C-P.A.W.W. was proud to attend the 2016 Anschutz Block Party on Sept. 14, where they assembled a doggie kissing booth, gave out tennis balls and bandanas to partygoers, and advocated for the importance of empirical research to evaluate the healing impact of the human-animal interaction.