Veterans Find Healing Through Animal Therapy

At Lockwood Animal Rescue Center, veterans who suffer from depression and PTSD are offered a unique therapy with the animals.

“One of our big concerns is that the suicide rate is so high,” Matt Simmons shares. “We have nine veterans currently enrolled in the program — and that’s half the daily casualty rate that get a chance to heal.”

Video Transcript

Matt Simmons: One of our big concerns is that the suicide rate is so high. There’s 22 veterans a day that commit suicide through clinical depression, PTSD, untreated war wounds that are on the inside. We have nine veterans currently enrolled in the program. So, that’s half a day’s daily causality rate.

Lockwood Animal Rescue Center offers an unusual encounter between veterans and parrots. These parrots are bringing healing, companionship, and unexpected friendship.

Matt: They get a chance to heal. And what we find is, for many, the veterans that work here, the birds become part of the therapy. So, their clinician says, “Hey, how you doing today?” And you’re like, “Well, you know what? Julius is having a really hard time today.” And what that really means is, ‘I’m having a hard time. Julius is my companion. I’m using him to express my emotions, because it’s safe for me.’

The birds understand you from the moment you get here. They want to interact with you. They want to be part of your life. They can feel your depression. It doesn’t … doesn’t get any better than this to learn how to heal, outside the brick and mortar, and all the fluorescent lights of the hospital.

Huh? Yes, I know. You’re a great therapist. You’re the best.

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