Pit Bull project pairs rescued dogs with PTSD veterans

Published: Oct. 3, 2014 at 7:26 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 2, 2015 at 7:26 AM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The idea behind the Positive Pit Project seems to make sense. Pairing a war veteran dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder with a dog that has been rescued from the streets or an animal shelter. Renee Smith with Lake Charles Pit Bull Rescue started the program as a way to help veterans and change the perception of Pit Bulls.

"The American Staffordshire Terrier, which falls under what most people consider a Pit Bull, is actually shown in the Westminster Dog Show, which is one of the most prestigious dog shows in the world," said Renee Smith, founder of Lake Charles Pit and Rescue. "It's recognized by the AKC. Unfortunately, Pit Bulls have gotten a bad rap over the years."

There's new research that shows man's best friend can be lifesavers for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.

"Because they're so loyal, that's why they make such good service dogs. They really bond to their person. Another thing that makes a rescue dog a really wonderful service dog is because of what they've gone through in the past, they really bond well with their person."

Once rescued, the dogs are then professionally trained as a service dog. That training costs money and sponsors like C and C Appliances are important.

"When we first found out about the program, we knew it was really something we wanted to be involved in," said Rhonda Wright of C and C Appliances."It was a chance to show our appreciation and respect to our veterans. We also love animals, so we thought it was a really good fit."

Sponsors like C and C say it's worth it.

"Supplying these rescue dogs with veterans is a way to save two lives at once."

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