WBZ Cares: PTSD Recovery

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Each month, “WBZ Cares” highlights a worthy non-profit organization and tells the story of what that organization does for the community. This month WBZ is profiling Operation Delta Dog whose mission is to rescue shelter dogs and train them to work as service dogs for disabled veterans who suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and related challenges.

WBZ Cares features Operation Delta Dog. Based out of Hollis, New Hampshire, the nonprofit tackles two problems, the epidemic of Veteran suicides and overflowing animal shelters. It then applies one solution. It rescues shelter dogs then trains them to be service dogs for veterans who suffer from PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, or Military Sexual Assault. 

“We lose on average 22 veterans to suicide every day in our country. These veterans deserve better,” stated Delta Dog Development Officer Charlotte Troddyn.

The service is completely free for the veterans. Delta Dog Development Officer Charlotte Troddyn says the transformation is amazing.

“These people that come in afraid to talk, afraid to interact, and they just come out different people. We have some that have started college, started employment that is consistent, that are able to re-engage with their families which is just amazing,” said Troddyn.

“We connected, bonded, really quick. It was amazing,” said Vince Ylitalo, a Veteran who suffers from PTSD. 

That's Vince Ylitalo talking about his service dog “Tippy”. Vince served over 38 years in the Army. He suffers from PTSD as a result of the trauma he experienced from his two tours in Iraq.

“We had some bad stuff. I was in charge of the mortuary affairs. I wouldn't wish that on anybody,” Ylitalo stated.

He's had Tippy now for three years.  

“How’s your life different now?” Shari Small asked.

“Oh, it’s huge. I am actually now able to get out of the house, knowing that I have her. It makes me more comfortable. It brings me back down to earth,” said Ylitalo.

WBZ NewsRadio1030's Shari Small Reports

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