Shannon Curry (MA '07, PsyD ‘11) is the head of the Hawaii Canine Assistance Network’s (CAN) public access program where she trains service dogs and uses the animals to assist in therapy for soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or brain injury.
"A lot of soldiers who suffer from PTSD or brain injury find it difficult to enjoy the things they used to," Curry said. "Working with dogs helps them to reintegrate with the community. It gives them a reason to leave home. Even if they're scared, they'll do it for the dogs."
Once or twice a month, Curry will take the soldiers and the training dog into a public place to help the dog learn how to behave in public and the soldier to feel safe in a potentially overwhelming environment.
During her time at GSEP, Curry witnessed firsthand the positive effect a dog had on a young boy who had gone through severe trauma.
For the full story, read Curry’s interview with The Honolulu Star-Advertiser.