Controversial Army Policy Makes it Difficult for Soldiers to Get Service Dogs
by Rebecca Ruiz
MSNBC, June 4, 2012
One day this spring, Army Specialist David Bandrowsky, 27, played Russian roulette with his .38 revolver.
Bandrowsky planned to end his life, which had been at turns unbearable since he returned from a 16-month deployment in Iraq in 2008. He had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, a traumatic brain injury and depression as a result of his combat experience.
Right before he pulled the trigger, his service dog, Benny, jumped up and knocked the gun out of his hand.
“He saved my life,” Bandrowsky said.
Benny was not trained for that scenario, but the 18-month-old Shepherd-hound mix has been taught to, among other tasks, push Bandrowsky away from crowds, wake him if he removes a sleep apnea mask at night and nudge him into a petting session if he seems…
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A Beautiful Department of Veterans Affairs Mental Health Center, But is it Enough?
by Gary Peterson and Mark Emmons
Bay Area News Group, June 21, 2012
Chris Hurt walked the wide-open halls of the new Mental Health Center at the VA Palo Alto campus, admiring the airy feel of an 80-bed unit that features enclosed courtyards and even an area to play basketball.
The acute inpatient psychiatric facility, he said, is like “night and day” from the old, claustrophobic building next door where he recently spent two weeks.
“Every single person here goes through moments where they’re so miserable that they just want to get out,” said Hurt, 25, who served two tours in Iraq as an Army specialist. “I don’t think anybody wants to be here. But this is better because it’s more like a hospital and less like a psych ward.”
The 76,000-square-foot center, which will be unveiled…
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