Gaining the support of a four-legged friend, one veteran’s story of recovery

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – With Veterans Day only one week away, this morning Richard and Vicki Horowitz from Bark Busters stopped by the studio with U.S. Veteran Sean Pesce and his 11-month-old American Bully to talk about the relationship between a wounded soldier and his dog.

Studies have shown that having a dog has very real physical ‘healing’ powers, like lower blood pressure and cholesterol, reduced stress, etc. For many people the presence of a dog also raises the brain’s dopamine and serotonin levels which are associated with increased pleasure and tranquility.

We understand that pet ownership is associated with many benefits including improvements in mental, social and physiological health. Sean, could you please tell us why you got Titan?

Sean: I had dogs all my life. After my injury, I felt a dog would give me something else to focus on. It creates a sense of responsibility and gives me something to do instead of sitting alone feeling sorry for myself.

Bark Busters: The American Bully was a great choice for Sean. They tend to be a very loving and gentle companion dog as well as good-natured and extremely loyal. The American Bully only wants to please its owner and know what is expected of him. A Bully needs clear rules to follow and limits to what they are and not allowed to do.

Do you feel that you needed training for Titan?

Sean: Training has been very helpful. The training you want should be easy to follow…and makes sense. Not treat based or physical.

Bark Busters: For Sean, the in-home training made the most sense as it has helped Sean develop a strong leadership role with Titan. Also, we are able to address any specific or unique issues that Sean maybe having in his environment.

How has Titan changed your life?

Sean: There are times when I might be feeling a bit down or lonely, but Titan is always there. He is a happy and loving family member. He is always willing to play and provide emotional support.

Bark Busters: Dogs can inspire us to get outside and exercise. Pets can promote a feeling of safety and provide a source of comfort which increases social contacts. Plus dogs help us to be more social in situations we otherwise might not.

As for our veterans, if you are thinking of getting a dog, give lots of thought to the best breed for you and your situation. You need to consider whether you have enough space for a large breed and how much time you have to train the dog.

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