News has been spreading this week of Gina, a bomb-sniffing dog at Peterson Air Force Base, who returned from a stint in Iraq a year ago. There, she witnessed gunfights and explosions. When she returned home, Gina was diagnosed with PTSD by a military veteranarian. Obviously, an animal can be affected by traumatic experiences, but there was some question as to whether or not animals suffer the same deep long-term psychological damage as humans. And according to ScienceWeek, the answer is yes.
The key excerpt from the article deals with elephants. And while it's hardly more scientific than Gina's diagnosis, it is at least some sort of precedent.
Elephant society in Africa has been decimated by mass deaths and social breakdown from poaching, culls, and habitat loss. From an estimated ten million elephants in the early 1900s, there are only half a million left today. Wild elephants are displaying symptoms associated with human PTSD: abnormal startle response, depression, unpredictable asocial behavior and hyperaggression.
Gina is "98% recovered" according to Sgt. Eric Haynes, a kennel master at Peterson Air Force Base. Maybe now she can return the favor by participating in the military's canine therapy program.
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