The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD afflicts:
- Almost 31 percent of Vietnam veterans
- As many as 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans
- 11 percent of veterans of the war in Afghanistan
- 20 percent of Iraqi war veterans
You’ve seen stories about veterans and their animals, right? You can’t scroll through Facebook or YouTube without seeing a dog ecstatic in the airport or at the front door when his ‘master’ returns from war. It always brings tears to my eyes, the fact that they're so devoted and so happy to see their people again.
There’s also a growing movement aimed at using dogs to help treat veterans who have PTSD. I decided to make that idea a part of my book Soldier of Love. My hero, Heath Garrick, doesn’t seek out counseling after he returns from war -- he’s too proud and too solitary -- but he suffers from some anger issues and wakes up with the sheets drenched from nightmares more often than not.
Until Bud shows up in his life. Bud is a stray three-legged dog who’s never known companionship or compassion until Heath adopts him. No formal training takes place. Bud just naturally soothes Heath whenever he gets agitated -- a little like the dog in this clip featuring the Canines for Warriors program:
Animals are amazing, aren’t they? They have such fantastic instincts. I knew before I even started writing Soldier of Love that my hero would have a dog by his side to help him through the dark times. They really are man’s best friend :)
Soldier of Love is the story of a veteran returned from war and the woman he falls in love with. It will release at all retailers on March 18 and is available for exclusive pre-order NOW on iTunes (the first 2 chapters will also be available at iTunes on February 20).