Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

National news

May 8, 2014

Therapy dog helps troops deal with postwar stress

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) — After three deployments to Iraq and three to Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Dennis Swols is agitated, prone to bouts of anger and unable to really talk about his time on the battlefield.

But as Swols sits in a small office in the Robinson Health Clinic at Fort Bragg, his hand drops to the furry head beside him and his mood brightens. Settled at his feet, Lexy, a 5-year-old German shepherd, gives Swols a few moments of distraction.

It's her job. And, according to Swols, she's good at it.

"I have a hard time talking to people about my deployments and everything," says Swols, who is with the 82nd Airborne's 4th Brigade Combat Team. After taking part in the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and the march into Baghdad in 2003, he's been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress. "But having her here, I just pet Lexy. Or I'm just sitting here and we won't talk about deployments, we'll just (talk) about the dog. ... My day is better every time I come in."

For 82nd Airborne psychiatrist Maj. Christine Rumayor, Lexy is a partner, a conversation starter and a living, breathing medical tool that can calm a patient and make a therapy appointment a little more enjoyable.

A slowly evolving form of treatment, animal therapy is used in only a few other Army installations, including Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. A small number of dogs like Lexy are being used almost as co-therapists. Others routinely work as service animals and are often used for animal-assisted therapy, including in visits to patients in the hospitals.

Lexy's move into therapy was unexpected. Rumayor decided to put her new puppy through the training when she realized Lexy was less of a guard dog and more of a calm cuddler. So, Lexy went through about 2½ years of training before she was able to pin on her rank — she's a lieutenant colonel — and become certified as Fort Bragg's only therapy dog.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National news
  • Full appeals court upholds labels on meat packages WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld new government rules that require labels on packaged steaks, ribs and other cuts of meat to say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered. The meat industry has attempted to block the rul

    July 29, 2014

  • Hepatitis Drug [Duplicate] $1,000-per-pill Sovaldi now hepatitis treatment of choice WASHINGTON (AP) — The price may be high but so is demand. A new $1,000-per-pill drug has become the treatment of choice for Americans with hepatitis C, a liver-wasting disease that affects more than 3 million. Even with insurers reluctant to pay, Sov

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Debt Study [Duplicate] Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute. These consumers fall behind on credit cards or hospital bill

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Virus drugmaker fights pediatricians' new advice CHICAGO (AP) — A costly drug given mostly to premature babies is at the center of a clash between the manufacturer and the nation's leading pediatrician's group, which recommends scaling back use of the medicine. The dispute involves new guidelines f

    July 28, 2014

  • Family Slain Maine [Duplicate] Police investigate deaths of family of 5 in Maine SACO, Maine (AP) — The state medical examiner plans to conduct autopsies on the bodies of five family members found shot to death in an apartment in southern Maine. Three children ages 4, 7 and 12 were among the victims discovered Sunday afternoon wh

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Obama Exporting Pollution [Duplicate] Not in my backyard: US sending dirty coal abroad NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — Coal from Appalachia rumbles into this port city, 150 railroad cars at a time, bound for the belly of the massive cargo ship Prime Lily. The ship soon sets sail for South America, its 80,000 tons of coal destined for power pl

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Zimmerman says he'll appeal NBC lawsuit dismissal ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — George Zimmerman has filed a notice to appeal the dismissal of his defamation lawsuit against NBC Universal and three reporters. The appeal notice was filed Tuesday with the Seminole County Clerk of Courts. Judge Debra Nelson on

    July 25, 2014

  • House votes to limit tax credit for immigrants WASHINGTON (AP) — The House passed a bill Friday that would gradually increase the popular child tax credit and make it available to more families with higher incomes. However, millions of low-income families would lose the $1,000-a-child credit in 2

    July 25, 2014

  • Ruling on antibiotics in livestock reversed NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration isn't required to hold public hearings to evaluate the health risks of widespread use of antibiotics in animal feed, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday. The decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Co

    July 25, 2014

  • Silenced by Violence [Duplicate] Anti-violence youth gunned down, but not silenced FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Dressed in jeans, a low-neck T-shirt and white sneakers, 19-year-old Ravon Jordan strode confidently to the podium to address the city council. He had just three minutes, so he got right to the point: Eleven days earlier, on

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller