Service dog helps Homer Glen Army veteran cope with PTSD

‘I want to be able to go out and live a normal life in the civilian world’

Brian Hermann of Homer Glen, an Army veteran, was recently paired with a black Labrador to help manage his post-traumatic stress symptoms.

Hermann had served as a motor transport operator when he was deployed to Korea. Chesdin completed formal service dog training with K9s For Warriors. This is a Florida-based nonprofit organization that provides trained service dogs to military veterans who have PTSD.

To date, K9s For Warriors paired nearly 700 veterans with service dogs, according to a news release from the nonprofit.

“I want to be able to go out and live a normal life in the civilian world,” Hermann said in the news release. “With Chesdin, I think it will allow us to do more family-oriented things. My quality of life has been improving, and I hope it continues to do so.”

Veterans and their dogs have three weeks of comprehensive training in Northeast Florida and then return home with the “the tools and resources to assist them with reintegrating into society, along with reduced suicidal ideation,” the release said.

Hermann and Chesdin trained in public every day. They also learned about service dog access and dog health care. The goal is to heal Hermann from military-related trauma, the release said.

“Nearly 20 veterans commit suicide every day,” Rory Diamond, CEO of K9s For Warriors, said in a news release. “These heroes return home feeling disconnected, unsafe, and unstable, tragically feeling like they have no other way forward.

“Backed by scientific research, service dogs are a proven treatment method for mitigating veteran’s debilitating symptoms of PTSD – like suicidal ideation. These four-legged battle buddies not only get our veterans back on their feet, but also help them regain a sense of confidence and independence in their lives.”

For more information, visit k9sforwarriors.org.

Denise M. Baran-Unland

Denise M. Baran-Unland is the features editor for The Herald-News in Joliet. She covers a variety of human interest stories. She also writes the long-time weekly tribute feature “An Extraordinary Life about local people who have died. She studied journalism at the College of St. Francis in Joliet, now the University of St. Francis.