If you’re a dog lover, then you already know that canine companions are good for the soul.
They are loving, affectionate creatures who will happily follow their favorite humans to the ends of the Earth.
In fact, there are even tangible, measurable
health benefits to having a dog in your life!
In fact, we’re pretty convinced that dogs have superpowers.
Not only are they wonderful, loyal companions to families and individuals, but many dogs also volunteer their sweet and loving personalities to a bigger cause.
These days, lots of dogs are training to be therapy animals. There are
dogs that help people going through scary medical treatment, dogs that soothe stress and anxiety, and even more spectacular, patriotic pups who help out returning soldiers that struggle with PTSD.
And when it comes to PTSD therapy, one of the biggest canine heroes of them all is a majestic
Great Dane named Bandit.
Scroll through the gallery below to learn how Bandit got his start, and what he does to help our warriors!
Bandit is a big, beautiful Great Dane with silver-gray fur and a majestic stance.
Still, this big dog is the
ultimate gentle giant. All he really wants in life is to snuggle up with people and show them how loved they are.
That’s because Bandit himself was rescued at just 14 weeks old from almost certain death after being abandoned at the pound.
Before Bandit found his loving forever home, he was skinny, covered in mange, and suffering from a large, benign tumor.
Once he came home, his new owners discovered that they had an incredibly affectionate and empathetic animal on their hands.
Despite, or perhaps because of, the traumas in Bandit’s past, he ended up being a perfect candidate for therapy training.
He was certified as a therapy dog back in 2012.
Since then, he’s begun traveling around the country offering love and cuddles to people who need it more than most: the brave men and women of our armed forces.
The people who protect our nation often do so at a great price, often leaving war zones with scars that are both physical and psychological.
That’s where Bandit comes into the picture. His specialty as a therapy dog is helping people with PTSD.
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a severe anxiety disorder triggered by witnessing or going through a traumatic experience.
People who have been through a trauma might experience debilitating nightmares, flashbacks, or anxiety attacks.
Soldiers and other people who have seen battle are at a high risk for developing PTSD once they return home.
Bandit helps them out by providing support from his home base at the Fort Leonard Wood USO in Missouri.
He’s usually there four days a week, providing affection and quiet understanding to the Wounded Warriors who come through the USO.
In addition to spending lots of time at the USO, Bandit likes to make appearances at veteran’s hospitals and other events that help to support returning warriors.
There, he makes himself available for therapy sessions with anyone who might need some love.
His “therapy patients” range from the soldiers themselves to children who grew up with one or both parents in the forces.
Now, Bandit is such a beloved member of the USO community that he has even been awarded his very own Honor Guard patch.
Bandit wears this patch, along with several others, on his special therapy dog vest.
When a human is part of the honor guard, it signifies somebody who protects and honors the armed forces. We like to think it has a very similar meaning for sweet Bandit.
If you’re taken with this lovely dog and his important mission, make sure to
SHARE with friends and family!
And if Great Danes are your favorite, check out the video below to see another of these sweeties “helping” his owner around the house!
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