Service Dogs Helping Veterans at Berkeley College

Richard Robitaille (formerly of Berkeley College) and Tami Pichardo from Berkeley College's Office of Military and Veteran Affairs are joined by Skyla, a two-year-old pit-mix service dog in-training, to explain how Skyla will provide emotional support to military and veteran students.

4/20/17 #2026






"Welcome to One On One I'm Steve Adubato. It is not actually one on one today. We actually have one on three. It is our honor and pleasure to introduce three very special guests. Our good friend Rich Robitaille, Associate vice president, office of military and veteran affairs and Tami Pichardo is director of military and veteran affairs and Skyla, a service dog in training at Berklee college where our good friends at the college are very committed to veterans, those who have served our country and trying to make a difference. Make the connection with Skyla. What's going on here and what role does Skyla play in helping our veterans? Sure. Many of our veterans who served in combat operations in the recent wars, many veterans come back with a great deal of emotional issues whether it be PTSD, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, these type of things. Many veterans suffer from these emotional issues their entire life and there's been a great deal of research to show that dogs can be trained to identify these conditions and actually help veterans and help sooth them and help relieve those symptoms of those issues that they challenge. You have a special relationship with this dog. Well, she is a rescue and the biggest thing for me is that we were able to adopt a rescue, give her a second chance at life, give her a good home, and give her the second opportunity and the understanding just like the veterans go through. I love her and she loves me. She got a second chance. MmmHmm Veterans get a second chance when they come back, right? They need that Describe... Break this down for us a little bit. A service dog, right? Like Skyla. What do they do for veterans and be really clear for people because I don't think people have a sense of how powerful that connection could be. Talk about it Rich. Alright, dogs can sense the emotion in a person as you know so if a veteran has anxiety, suffers depression for example if they start bouncing their leg or they start to have a panic attack, the dog can feel that emotion and will go over to the veteran and rest their head on them or serve as someone they can pet and comfort. Take their mind off whatever it is that's troubling them. Dogs, they use them in all facets of life and we have some veterans at our school that have their own service dog that can be trained to detect when they're going to have a breakdown or some type of episode. Skyla senses emotions? She senses and reacts to emotions, yeah. So, it's so interesting..."