A dog partnered with a survivor of sexual assault to lend support through their skills and companionship
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Teal Paws is a program meant to improve the quality of life of sexual assault survivors by pairing them with a rescued dog and gathering weekly for group support in the development of personal self-regulation through mindfulness practice and to guide these individuals through the process of training their dogs for specialized tasks meant to mitigate their symptoms of PTSD.
Over the past 10 years, incorporating animal therapies for individuals experiencing
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has been on the rise. Much of our knowledge in the use of animals in the treatment of PTSD has been done with research involving veterans in treating combat trauma. But these results can be extrapolated to relate to sexual assault-induced PTSD.
On the path to recovery, Teal Paws strives to provide complementary healing strategies.
After the placement of the ally dog, we offer weekly group sessions of positive reinforcement dog training with a certified professional dog trainer, while incorporating valuable education on trauma resiliency. It has been shown that a dog can stabilize and restore a person's ability to function (Fine, 2015).
According to the nations largest anti-sexual violence organization RAINN, one out of every six American women, and one out of every 33 American men will experience an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
Symptoms of PTSD include repeated thoughts of the assault; memories and nightmares; avoidance of thoughts, feeling, and situations related to the assault; negative changes in thought and feeling; and increased arousal (for example difficulty sleeping and concentrating, jumpiness, or irritability.)
The National Women's Study reported that one of every three rape victims develop PTSD during their lifetimes.
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