Companions for Heroes featured by TIME Magazine

Companions for Heroes featured by TIME Magazine
Date and Time
SSTG Brad Fasnacht and Sapper

Bringing Dogs to Heal

It has taken nearly a decade of war—and the lack of a cure for post traumatic stress disorder—to get officials to study the benefits of giving service animals to mentally ailing soldiers and veterans

Staff Sergeant Brad Fasnacht was clearing mines on an Afghan road a year ago when an IED blast broke his spine and both ankles and put him in atwo-week stupor that ended only when he woke up, 7,000 miles away, at WalterReed Army Medical Center in Washington. The explosion had knocked his helmeted head so violently, he suffered atraumatic brain injury, which exacerbates his post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).Although Army doctors and nurses have been able to get the 26-year-old walking again, he has had to call in a specialist—Sapper, an Australian cattle dog mix—to help tackle his PTSD.

“He has changed my life,” Fasnacht says of the 1-year-old mutt, whose name is shorthand for “combat engineer,” Fasnacht’s Army job. Sapper goes with him whenever he leaves his Silver Spring, Md.,apartment, something he was terrified of doing until he got his canine companion in April. Three combat tours and twoPurple Hearts had left him in a state of...

Veteran David Sharpe and Cheyenne