A&E will premier their docu-series, “Dogs of War” on Veteran’s Day, 2014. The docu-series is a collection of stories of dogs and Soldiers, stories of salvation, the salvation of dogs being rescued from a shelter. The same dogs go on to rescue former soldiers that have been medically retired, and are having significant trouble “coming home” and reintegrating into mainstream civilian society.
Founders of “Paws and Stripes,” Lindsey and Jim Stanek, have committed to matching shelter dogs with Veterans, in the hopes of saving lives. Through this Dogs of War docu-series, they take us along this life changing journey for both the dogs and the soldiers; each getting a second chance at life. While there is no current data showing the suicide rate among veterans in 2013, The VHA (Veterans Health Administration) did release a suicide data report, 2012. According to CNN USA in an article published on November 14th, 2013, “every day, 22 veterans take their own lives. That’s a suicide every 65 minutes.” The CNN article goes on to explain that not all states reported for the study by the VHA, so the numbers may be higher.
Every day, 22 veterans take their own lives. That’s a suicide every 65 minutes. And because of under-reporting, those numbers may be higher.
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a killer, it’s symptoms include intrusive memories, avoidance, and changes in emotional reactions to name just a few. TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) symptoms include physical, sensory, and possibly even cognitive or mental symptoms; such as depression or anxiousness. The Service Dogs trained by Paws and Stripes mitigate all aspects of problems that PTSD and TBI can create, and are saving lives. Lindsey and Jim Stanek have experience with the realities of reintegration once a Soldier returns from war, and separates from the military. Jim, himself, now benefits from the stable, loving and life giving presence of his own Service Dog, Sarge. A&E Network presents a new documentary series following war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as they are paired with shelter dogs trained to help them adjust to life after war. Dogs of War premieres on Veterans Day, Tuesday, November 11 at 10PM ET/PT and then moves to Sundays at 10PM ET/PT beginning on November 16. This real-life series chronicles the fog of PTSD that many veterans find themselves in after serving in combat and the service dogs that bring them out of it. In each episode, one or two veterans are matched with a dog adopted from a shelter that has been trained in rehabilitation. Together they take an emotional journey out of darkness, through rigorous training and emotional support, so the veteran can integrate back into normal life. Dogs of War is the crossroads where a veteran condemned to a life of isolation and an abandoned dog condemned to a kill shelter come together to rescue each other. “This series is full of raw, real, intensely emotional moments that don’t often get a spotlight in mainstream media,” said David McKillop, General Manager and Executive Vice President of A&E. “Each veteran’s story of survival is humbling, and we are proud to create a series that captures the light at the end of the tunnel for these heroes.”
The life-saving organization behind the series is Paws and Stripes, founded by Jim and Lindsey Stanek. Jim served three tours in Iraq and returned home suffering from severe PTSD. He was struggling, on the brink of homelessness and on a long list to be matched with a costly service dog. Lindsey and Jim, tired of the road blocks, set out to establish an organization that would adopt unwanted dogs from kill shelters, rehabilitate them and pair them with a veteran, at little or no cost. “Dogs of War” is produced by Custom Productions, Inc. and Redtail Media, LLC for A&E Network. Executive producers for Custom/Redtail Partners are Steve Stockman, Jared Cotton, Chris Burke and Peter Logreco. Executive producers for A&E Network are Brad Abramson, Fred Grinstein and Laurie Sharpe.