Therapy dog helps troops deal with postwar stress

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Associated Press

Posted on May 8, 2014 at 2:32 AM

Updated Thursday, May 8 at 5:06 AM

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) — A 5-year-old German shepherd named Lexy has a special job at the Robinson Health Clinic at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

As the Army struggles to address the broad swath of stress disorders and mental health problems brought on by more than a decade of war, Lexy helps soldiers to put aside the bravado and seek treatment.

For psychiatrist Maj. Christine Rumayor, Lexy is a partner, a conversation starter and a living, breathing medical tool who can calm a patient and make a therapy appointment a little more enjoyable.

Dogs like Lexy are being used almost as co-therapists in a few Army installations, including Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Others work as service animals and are used for animal-assisted therapy, visiting patients in hospitals.

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