Canine companions: Service dogs assist Hoosiers in need


A soldier who sustained injuries on the right side of his body while serving in Iraq was faced with several complications when he returned home.

After only a few minutes in a grocery store, he would have an attack related to post-traumatic stress disorder. Storms and loud fireworks also had negative effects.

His injuries also prevented him from getting down on the floor to play with his young son.

But once he was paired with an accredited dog from the Indiana Canine Assistant Network, his life changed.

The veteran was able to stay in the grocery store for more than an hour, he overcame the loud noises and, most importantly, he could get down on the floor with his son.

It’s all because his canine companion was by his side the whole time.

Dogs also can be trained to assist people with mobility or balance issues, diabetes, seizures and autism. They can be placed in rehabilitation facilities, court systems, shelters for those who have been abused or battered and special needs classrooms. And they can detect a person’s body expression when they are about to have a seizure.

Since forming in 2002, ICAN, the only accredited service dog training program in the state, has successfully placed more than 160 service dogs — primarily with Indiana residents.

Carefully screened incarcerated adults at three state correctional facilities help train the dogs for two years, and they work with the people receiving the dogs so they are comfortable around them.

Check out the full story in Saturday’s Tribune and online at

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