K9s for Warriors: Mom supports vets dealing with PTSD
[CNN] Shari Duval knows that dogs can heal.
Duval was inspired to do something after her son, Brett Simon, returned from two tours in Iraq. Simon was a civilian K9 police officer before joining a special team whose main mission was to work with the Army.
"I was chosen to work with explosive tracking dogs in Iraq. Once I arrived in Iraq in Baghdad, I was shipped out to Mosul, where I worked with the striker brigade working on the first tracking explosive dogs that were attempted in Iraq," says Simon.
Duval says she wasn't prepared when her son came home diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
"He was somebody different, he was not my son that went over there. He was completely changed and that was a shock that I've never experienced before, so it was more of panic. What do I do? What can I do? How do I fix it?"
Duval started researching methods on how to treat persons with PTSD and found that using service dogs was a promising solution. But at the time, there weren't many organizations providing service dogs for veterans.
In 2010, she founded K9s for Warriors to help her son and other military veterans with PTSD. To date, hundreds of veterans have received dogs and a new lease on life.