Paws Assisting Veterans training service dogs to smell nightmares, wake up vets

Paws Assisting Veterans - KATU image

CORNELIUS, Ore. – The local non-profit group “Paws Assisting Veterans” is working on a new way to help vets with post-traumatic stress disorder get a good night’s sleep.

The innovative approach pairs veterans with dogs that can smell nightmares. Paws Assisting Veterans (PAVE) brought Dr. Robert Hewings, the head trainer at U.K. College of Scent Detection, to help.

He says humans emit specific smells when they're anxious. They are now training dogs to smell that in sleeping vets and wake them up before the nightmare plays out.

"We've looked at it scientifically and the predominant scents that are being released are adrenaline and cortisol,” said Dr. Hewings. “So if we can capture that, train our dogs to identify that scent, when they smell the smell they know what to do."

Pave is currently training about a half-dozen dogs, but pairing service dogs with vets-in-need is a delicate process.

Officials at PAVE compare it to compatibility when match-making. They hope to send the first sleep scent dogs home with a veteran in about three months.

You can find more information on PAVE and ways you can help their cause by visiting their website.

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