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Child Watch at YMCA

Posted date:
Friday, September 7, 2012

Child Watch on Race Day at the Gig Harbor Y

The Gig Harbor Family YMCA is pleased to be the start and finish location for the Second Annual Race For A Soldier Half Marathon. Race participants are welcome to access the facility at no cost after the race.

Dogs enlisted to aid veterans with PTSD harder to come by?

Posted date:
Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Recently retired Army major James "Jimmy" LaCaria says he was afraid to leave his apartment before he got Kaeci, his 5-year-old mixed Australian blue heeler and kelpi service dog.

Ivan Pierre Aguirre | USA TODAY
Jimmy LaCaria and Kaeci attend a group meeting at an El Paso hospital last month.

LaCaria, 36, from El Paso, was diagnosed in 2010 with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He had been in and out of inpatient psychiatric treatment facilities before his psychiatrist recommended he get a service dog to help him cope with the anxiety and nightmares caused by his debilitating condition.

"Even after getting psychiatric help, I was still afraid to go outside. I was afraid to go into public places or anyplace that had a crowd," LaCaria recalled. "With Kaeci, I'm able to do that. I can have more of a normal life."

An Army policy implemented in January, critics say, has made it harder for soldiers such as LaCaria who are suffering from PTSD and traumatic brain injuries to have specialized psychiatric service dogs on military posts.