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A&E’s "Dogs of War" tells the story of vets, PTSD and Service Dogs

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.

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Jim, Michael and Michael’s Service Dog in Training

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.”

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Jim and Lindsey Stanek

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.

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Comments

  • C Brown November 7, 2014

    Great story. Thank you for taking this on.

  • Robert Stave November 15, 2014

    Hello….I was very impressed by Dogs of War. I have a service dog “Matilda” and we have be together for a year now. She was a rescue do from GA. She is about has good has it gets. She works with Vets w/PTSD at the VA Hospital. However, her most important job is looking after me. I am 70 years old retired Army Ranger with several tours in VN. I have a lot of problems due to PTSD and Matilda has saved my life. I would like to be a part of your program in any way possible. I am at your service, thank you and happy trails. Bob Stave USA (Ret) Cell [number removed for privacy]…E-mail: [email removed for privacy].

    • Kea Grace November 19, 2014

      Mr. Stave,

      Glad to hear your partner helps you live life to the fullest, and we’d like to thank you for your service. We’d love to hear more about how Matilda has changed your life – please email our editor via our contact page.

  • Sheila Wright December 2, 2014

    I watch this program every week and really enjoy each story. I would like to know if there is an organization like this in Ontario, Canada? I really admire the idea of using rescue dogs to help our vets, and would like to volunteer my time to do whatever I can to assist in any way possible. I live near Windsor Ontario. Can you give me some direction as to where and how I should start? Thks Sheila

    • Kea Grace December 11, 2014

      Sheila,

      We are based out of the United States, but shoot us an email and we’ll see if we can help you find an avenue to assist your local community.

  • Jenny A. Holloway, TSgt, USAF (ret) December 8, 2014

    Man! I am a ret. TSgt with SEVERE cptsd. I have been waiting five years for a dog. Now I’m do desperate I’m signed up for one forv20k. Am I getting shafted? I’m so suicidal I missed my VA psych evaluation because I was in patient you guessed it from cptsd suicide. I attempted again tonight but my loving daughter git in my face to stop me. Can you help? I don’t think I can ever get 20k all I make is my ret. Pay and VA. Pay for my current rating (pm me) I need a break please contact me. I served in two “wars” I need a miracle. OK if u guys read these here goes. My name is Jenny Holloway. I served from 1986-2007, retired as a TSgt. Got shot at, and tried not to go again. Yes I’ll admit I think two times being shot st is enough! My number is [removed for privacy], my email is [removed for privacy].
    God bless and you guys are awesome!

    • Kea Grace December 11, 2014

      Jenny,

      Thank you for reaching out to us, and we’re so sorry to hear you’re in a dark place. We’re incredibly happy your daughter was able to give you a reason to stay, and we’re glad you’re ok. While we aren’t a substitute for a doctor’s care in any way, shape, form or fashion, we’d really like to encourage you to seek treatment, even if it’s outside of the VA. We’ll contact you shortly by email and see if we can help you find a solution. Stay safe, and do not hesitate to contact us at any time if you need to talk. You can reach us via email or Facebook, and we’ll do our best to respond as quickly as possible. Thank you for your service.

  • Lisa December 25, 2014

    Love the show! When is the next episode?

  • Valerie Fry KPA CTP December 28, 2014

    As a Service Dog Trainer I am excited that this will help educate on the real effects of PTSD and how these dogs will help!

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