We’ve all heard of seeing eye dogs, bomb sniffing dogs, dogs that help the hearing impaired, even dogs that can find cancer, but this I must admit is a first for me – used to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:
A dog has done what doctors couldn’t do for combat veteran Lucien Masson.
Psychiatrists, drugs, group therapy, anger-management classes – none of them did much to curb the nightmares, panic attacks and road rage he’s battled for decades after serving in Vietnam.
Then Sascha, a Russian wolfhound, came to live with the former Marine.
Almost overnight, he said, things began to change.
The dog, trained to sense the onset of nightmares, now wakes Masson before they happen by licking his face or switching on a light with his paw.
If strangers get too close in public, Sascha creates a buffer zone, inserting himself between his master and the crowds.
If Masson gets irate in traffic, a long, slender nose pokes from the back seat into the space between the front seats, coming to rest on his knee in search of petting.
Masson strokes the animal and takes a deep breath, reminding himself not to get worked up over nutty drivers.
“This dog is the best medicine I’ve ever had,” said Masson, 60, of Pearce, a mining ghost town near Benson, about 90 miles southeast of Tucson.