Clear Path For Veterans Canine Program Fights Depression and PTSD

Bridge Street

Oftentimes, soldiers return home from war fighting their own inner battles of depression or PTSD and not knowing where to turn. One organization is working to change that.

Clear Path For Veterans, a veterans organization in Chittenango, offers various programs that provide support in a multitude of ways. One of those ways is through their canine program.

Dogs from the program are “trained to do specific tasks and mitigate symptoms related to PTSD,” explains Clear Path Representative Ryan Woodruff. They go through 12 to18 months of assistance dog training in order to be built up to provide comfort care for each veteran.

“Statistics have grown exponentially for dog-owners in general,” says Clear Path President Melissa Spicer. “The bond that you create with dogs lessens some of those symptoms [of PTSD],” she adds.

The program is popular among veterans associated with Clear Path, receiving almost daily applications in high numbers, and the organization is certainly there to deliver. They offer three classes a week, equipping up to five veterans per class.

“Our hope,” says Woodruff, “is to be able to graduate up to thirty veterans a year.” These classes help veterans to train heir own personal dog, which allows the bond between handler and companion to form early on.

“The VA has recognized it as a very important tool or an additional tool,” points out Spicer. Canine companions “help veterans get back out into the community, engage with the community, and are bridged back into the community,” she adds.

If you would like to learn more about this life-saving program or about veteran support in general visit

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