For veterans struggling to overcome PTSD, trained canine companions can help them manage stress and better adjust to civilian life. Now, there's an easy way for supporters to help veterans get service dogs.
The "Dog Bless USA" campaign is rallying Americans to help provide much-needed service dogs -- all by just clicking "like" on the Facebook page.
For veterans with PTSD, social interactions and returning to civilian jobs can be difficult. Recovering from the trauma of war, being approached by strangers, especially unexpectedly, can be scary.
Service dogs are trained to watch their owners' backs, warn them of people coming up to them and physically help them maintain distance from strangers. These tactics help the veterans feel safer and more calm.
For Gernert, a postal worker in Colorado Springs, Colo., a service dog named Bertha helps him as he goes about his daily route.
Gernert says, "these dogs are life-changing."
The campaign is organized by Explore.org and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
For every 5,000 people who click "like" on the page between May 27 and July 4, one dog will be given to a veteran with PTSD. They hope to reach 500,000 new "likes" on Facebook to meet their goal of providing 100 service dogs to returning veterans.
Supporters can get involved by going to Facebook.com/exploredogs.