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‘Your Life After Trauma’ Radio: Pets and Trauma Recovery: How They Help Us Heal Tonight @ 7pm EST

Posted Jun 02 2011 8:32am
PTSD pets

Baylee loves the beach!

The first really positive step I took toward my recovery came in the form of deciding to get a puppy. Mired in a deep depression and feeling overwhelmed by symptoms of PTSD didn’t seem like the right time to become a pet owner but I took the plunge and boy, was it the right decision!

Baylee and I met when he was just ten weeks old and we’ve been best buddies for the past 8 years. We’ve been through a lot together, including my complete recovery from PTSD. Having him around to mitigate the darkness (he’s fabulously funny and has a very emotional and interactive personality) brought a new light into my life that helped me begin to reach outside of my illness and find the necessary strength to heal.

Tonight, on ’Your Life After Trauma’ we’ll have three guests talking about pets and their role in post-trauma recovery. Tune in to find out just how influential a pet can be for healing and call in with your questions for our experts!

The show airs 7-8pm EST on Seaview Radio in Florida, 95.9FM/106.9FM/960AM.

If you’re not local you can listen by clicking on the LISTEN LIVE button!

To make a comment or ask a question during the show, call: 877.960.9960.

Or, leave a comment at the bottom of this post, or on the .

My guests this week:


Laura Westerfield is the founder of Paws and People Assisting Wounded Warriors (ppaWWs). ppaWWs is dedicated to the raising and training of Psychiatric Service Dogs and Mobility Assistance Dogs for Wounded Warriors with PTSD, TBI and other injuries. PTSD and TBI are the “invisible wounds” that many of our Warriors will carry with them for life. ppaWWs’ dogs help to alleviate or at least help them cope with these wounds so they can live out their lives with more independence and confidence.

ppaWWs also provides Therapy Dogs for Veterans, Active Duty Service Members and Military Dependents with psychiatric, emotional and learning disabilities. Social Therapy Dogs are trained to provide the unique K-9/Human therapeutic connection to many in military hospitals and similar venues. Private Therapy Dogs are trained to provide that connection on a temporary basis to individuals waiting for their Assistance or Service Dogs to be trained or on a Permanent basis to those who do not quite meet the criteria for an Assistance or Service Dog.


Nick Kutsukos runs Elite K9 Academy in Jupiter, FL and has trained service dogs for 40 years. Nick experiences seizures and is helped on a daily basis by his own service dog, Jack. Nick and Jeanneane have dedicated countless years to effectively training service dogs and offering obedience classes to the community. Nick asserts that one can tell a true service dog by simply observing the dog’s behavior. Nick’s trained dogs appear calm and quiet, will obey the disabled owner’s commands, perform tasks and lie down passively where instructed.
Together, Nick and Jeanneane have helped their clients reclaim their lives by providing them with trained service dogs who give them the freedom and confidence to re-enter and interact with their worlds.



Janet  Austin
is the 49 year old wife of 30 year military veteran Bill (pictured left with therapy dog JP), who’s had 7 tours just since 1998 to include Bosnia twice, Kosovo, 2 to Iraq for OIF and 2 to Afghanistan for OEF.  Bill’s PTSD symptoms started back after a tour in 2002, but no one wanted to talk about it. So, Janet decided to do something about it. While her husband was deployed in 2009 and even with Janet suffering from breast cancer at the time, she earned a Vet Assistant and Certified Obedience Instructor degree.

Janet’s passion is advocacy and awareness of PTSD issues, “Being given the opportunity to train JP and use my Obedience Trainer skills to actually help a person in need fills my heart.”  While some don’t understand how Janet can let go of the dogs she has connected with and put so much work into, Janet explains, “I  am not giving him away, he is with me so that in 6-9 months he can fulfill a higher purpose to allow another Veteran to be able to deal with his disease and live as fulfilling a life as possible.”

Janet and Bill have been married 20 years, have one son age 24 and live in Delaware City, DE.  Janet enjoys a simple home life outside of working with my her own dogs, one of which has been a Therapy Dog for 6 years now.  ”Snigglebutt” is a 90 pound Boxer with nothing but love to give to everyone he meets.

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