Pit bull helping local Army veteran with PTSD, anxiety

Pit bull helping local Army veteran with PTSD, anxiety

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Many military veterans are turning to service dogs to help them transition back into civilian life, but the breed they're using might surprise you.

A local dog trainer said pit bulls are ideal because of their natural characteristics.

It's a new idea but something dog trainer, Ricky Bedient, said comes natural to pit bull breeds because of their intuition.

"People say they have this magic power to pick stuff up, it's not so much that. Your pheromones change and they have the scent glands, they're focused on you and they can pick up the pheromone changes in your body," said Bedient. "So if you're upset, they pick up on that smell. If you're happy, they pick up on that smell."

Shane Catt is an 11 year veteran, he was diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety. He medically retired from the U.S. Army in 2015.

"I get really frustrated with my anxiety really bad when I go to the mall with my wife and kids," said Catt. "I don't want to be like that. I want to spend more time out in public with my wife and kids and I think Fawn will be able to help me with that."

Catt's wife had the idea to get a pit bull and the entire family fell in love with Fawn. Fawn isn't fully trained yet but she's making fast progress.

"She'll pick up on things if I get frustrated or upset, or if I have problems sleeping," said Catt. "She's there, she sleeps on the bed right next to me. She's there when I'm frustrated, she'll be all up in my face licking me and stuff like that just to calm me down."

Bedient said these are the kinds of actions that come naturally to pit bull breeds. Catt and his wife have three young daughters and Fawn has fit right in with the family.

"She is the greatest with them," said Catt. "She will lay on the ground, let them roll on top of her, she will play with them, plays fetch with them, runs around with them, she loves kids and she loves people."

Service dogs must be trained by a professional dog trainer and do not require a certification. Length of training is different for each dog.

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