Thursday, January 2, 2020

NYCRA's K9 Ambassador Gets Major "Touchdown" Wave at Giants/Eagles Game

12-29-2019, MetLife Stadium at the Meadowlands, NJ - NY GIANTS & Puppies Behind Bars Honored First Responders & Military Veterans Service Dogs and their Partners. Puppies Behind Bars and the New York Giants hosted their First Responders & Military veterans at the GIANTS VS. EAGLES Game.  On the field was welcomed rescue personnel that were granted professional service dogs to help them in their daily lives- including Port Authority Police Officer Brian Andrews (injured in 2015), Air Force Veteran & Firefighter Brian Cantatore, Groton PDF officer Healther McLeland, USAF (25-year veteran) Colonel Gene Meyer and our very own Darryl Vandermark, 9/11 First Responder and retired Deputy Fire Coordinator and HAZMAT Chief.

This year's celebration of these service personnel spotlights the significant importance of trained service dogs in our community.  This group of dogs are sponsored by "PUPPIES BEHIND BARS" (PBB) - a non-profit association dedicated to training prison inmates to raise service dogs for wounded war veterans and first responders, as well as explosive-detection canines for law enforcement. Puppies enter prison at the age of 8 weeks and live with their inmate puppy-raisers for approximately 24 months. As the puppies mature into well-loved, well-behaved dogs, their raisers learn what it means to contribute to society rather than take from it.

" came in the form of a service dog named Patriot", states Darryl Vandermark from an interview with "The PTSD doesn’t go away, it’s something I’ll probably deal with for the rest of my life but Patriot has made life a lot easier for me, by helping me with my “grounding.” Grounding is a process in which a service dog will distract a person going through a PTSD episode by nudging, pawing, and licking, essentially bringing them back to reality."

By: Jessica Glynn, LMSW, CPC, CEC

High risk professions like law enforcement, military service, healthcare and emergency response are known to have exposure to some of the most extreme levels of trauma - both physically and psychologically. They range in effects from manageable symptoms to crippling disorders. Over time, most people overcome disturbing or traumatic experiences and continue to work and live their lives. But others who get affected by traumatic experiences may trigger a reaction that can last for months or even years. This is called Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. Proportionately, studies have shown a lower percentage of retirees from such challenging careers acquire PTSD (from 15-20%) while an estimated 30-40% who suffer from PTSD associated symptoms go undetected or do not register as full cases. A larger percentage ‘on the job’ might be able to maintain the expected work standards throughout their career and even make it to retirement without visible signs. But “POST traumatic recall” leading to fully blown PTSD occurs when repeated exposure to trauma compounds on the tolerance capacity that eventually, one’s coping ability collapses. The individual may feel stages of grief, depression, anxiety, guilt or anger from uncontrollable issues like recurring flashbacks and nightmares.

Enduring trauma is different and unique for everyone. Some cases are event-specific (having intense auditory impact or visual intensity of a terrifying event) while other cases are contingent upon the tolerance of an individual. There are people who are more emotionally expressive than others- and that might help with if they talk about the trauma that they've been through. A latent emotional disorder like PTSD symptoms can come out over time just like anything that is suppressed or repressed. It could take some time for somebody who came back from combat or a first responder who has been in a traumatic event to show signs of disturbance. They could be holding it in and repeatedly thinking about it privately (or ruminating over it) allowing the disturbing memories to get more intense by the day. This can often be a coping mechanism- protecting themselves from dark or negative feelings for a while, but eventually it builds up and can become symptomatic like flashbacks and anxiety, then leading to an eventual explosion. Meanwhile, some people just have flashbacks right after the experience because of the way that everybody's brain processes differently. Others obsess over thoughts that keep popping up over and over again. It really just depends on the person.
(For complete article no PTSD, visit:

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Additional contributors: Dr. K. Lessnau (NYC) and Dr. D. Buonsenso, (Rome) April 1, 2020- Dr. Robert L. Bard, recognized cancer imagi...