Fallen Soldiers March®

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Fallen Soldiers March® 501 (c) (3) non-profit

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Fallen Soldiers March®

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Fallen Soldiers March®

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A 501 (c) (3) Non-Profit Dedicated to
Providing Biblical Counseling,
Service Dogs, and Veteran Advocacy

TBI Two Part Series by Ken Lyons, FSM Service Dog Trainer

TBI Two Part Series by Ken Lyons, FSM Service Dog Trainer

Traumatic Brain Injury Duology – Service Dogs & Certified Biblical Counseling 

Artist Credit- Sophie DuBois

Artist Credit- Sophie DuBois

One of Two

The Fallen Soldiers March recognizes that Service Dogs are simply a tool derived out of the abundance of God’s common grace and love towards mankind.

First, what is a TBI. A Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) is a physical brain injury. Many things in everyday life can cause them, including the savages of war. Some examples are car wrecks, falls, head wounds, nearby explosive forces, along with bullet and puncture wounds to the head. Medications and surgeries may help the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury, but treatment is complex and medications are expensive. All serious head injuries can alter a person’s life forever.

A trained Service Dog can assist many individuals with a TBI by doing a number of tasks such as aiding with memory related tasks, pick up on the subtle changes in a handler’s mood, heart rate, and stress levels. Many Anxiety and Mood disorders are reduced just by having the dog at their side. Below is a short list of common symptoms of a TBI.

Memory Difficulty
A loss of memory can affect your daily life and can impact your health by forgetting to take medications or eating. A Service Dog can be trained to remember basic tasks like retrieving lost items and reminding you to take medications.

Confusion
Service Dogs create complex patterns of daily routines, awareness of physical environments and are able to alert others for help. If a handler is confused or lost, a Service Dog is be able to lead their handler back to a safe place. Service Dogs are also trained to retrieve items like medications and clothing items to make daily tasks easier.

Loss of Consciousness
Fainting can occur sporadically and poses a danger to people suffering from TBI. A dog can be trained to help with mobility assistance and will wake up their handler and alert others. A dog can be trained to nudge and lick the handler and may bark to alert others of the emergency.

Anxiety
Having a Service Dog by your side when going outside, running errands, or completing tasks will help combat anxiety and nervous emotions. Service Dogs are trained to calm a handler when they pick up on anxious behaviors or nervousness symptoms like a rise in heart rate. A dog will be able to mediate the anxious feelings and bring the handler back to a grounded or calm environment.

Customizing a Service Dog for a TBI is very complex, each person’s needs are unique to their injury.

Case Study:
John, age 25, was on his third deployments to Iraq. His camp came under mortar attack, and the building he was working in was dam-aged when it was hit. Part of the ceiling caved and hit his head. He was later found on the floor with a head wound. He has damage to the occipital and frontal lobes of his brain. His autonomic and limbic systems were also damaged. Those are the systems that make the body feel and move. John does not feel over 60% of his body, and he is losing the use of his legs. His new Service Dog, Duke, helps him get going every morning. whether it be walking or rolling in his wheelchair. The rigid guide harness allows him to use the dog as a mobility walker when his legs get weak. Without tactile feedback he says it like walking on a cloud, not feeling when your feet hit the ground, sort of like guessing on steps in the dark. The dog also helps him remember his meds because the dogs feeding schedule is in sync with his meds…the dog doesn’t like to miss a meal so will take him to the counter when it’s time, three times a day. Going out can be a chore, especially heavy doors and crowded furniture. Johns lack of feeling makes injuries very easy since he bumps objects at full stride and get bruises but doesn’t feel them. The dog has helped him be aware of his surroundings and the dog itself keeps a buffer area for him, even pulling him away when he gets too close to the walls. Emotionally the dog has been a godsend, the dog is always there to reassure him that he is not alone and safe. That 100% love and affection is the best medicine in the world to his self-esteem. We are so thankful to have received Duke.

Kenneth Lyons
Fallen Soldiers March Trainer
Service Dogs of Florida, Inc.

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