In late October, the director of VA’s Caribbean Healthcare System, DeWayne Hamlin, welcomed Dr. Mariane Cott, a volunteer at the Centro de Desarrollo Psico-Organizacional y Psicoeducativo  (a mental health educational organization) in Puerto Rico, and PetSmart’s Puerto Rico general director, Julio Reyes to experience the benefits of pet therapy first-hand while treating different conditions experienced by Veterans.

“This program becomes the first and unique primary resource between human animal bond and animal assisted interventions, which will be a big contribution for our society and many professional settings,” said Cott, who volunteers each Tuesday at various clinics. “An animal assisted intervention brings positive behavioral support intervention for children, adolescents, young adults, adults, elderly people and our Veterans with severe emotional or behavioral problems, psychological and physiological support for the critically ill, elderly, physically impaired and others.”

Following the visit, Cott was surprised by Reyes after being presented with a $5,000 grant from PetSmart so she can continue assisting Veterans through her Volunteer Services.

This article was written by Joseph Rivera Rebolledo of the VA Caribbean Healthcare System

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Published on Nov. 5, 2015

Estimated reading time is 0.9 min.

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  1. Bill Powell Powell November 9, 2015 at 8:55 am

    I have a letter from my VA psychiatrist stating that I heed a emotional support animal for my PTSD. I have a dog that for two years was a emotional support dog for a little girl that had mental problem’s, when she passed away, I got the dog. She took right over for my PTSD, and I couldn’t live a somewhat normal life with out her. My problem is that I need a vest for her, how do I get a service vest for her.
    Thank you
    william Powell

  2. ken n November 6, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    Good story how ever the VA really needs to get with the times and offer Ptsd dogs and companion dogs to vets with depression. There are a lot of military dogs who need homes I know animals keep me calm what a joy it be to go out in public and have a companion there when a panic attack hits or I get overwhelmed.

  3. Will Colebank November 6, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Awesome I have a prescription for a Service Dog. Boy, do I want one too!

    Will Colebank

  4. DannyG November 5, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Cool story! I think its awesome that VA is realizing the importance & spreading the word abt therapy & service dogs. Mr. Rebolledo, thanks for having a little “extra” fun so you could share with us!

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