"Dogs of War: The Fight Back Home" is a 45-60 minute documentary that will look at post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military working dogs. Until recently, PTSD was neither acknowledged nor diagnosed in these heroic dogs returning from war. With 2,700 military working dogs stationed worldwide and 700 in war zones, the proportion of dogs currently diagnosed with PTSD is approximately 5%, a figure that is expected to rise in the coming years.
I am traveling the country visiting military bases and meeting with Congressmen, U.S. Veterans, dog handlers, trainers, and veterinarians, as well as the leading authority on canine PTSD, Dr. Walter Burghardt at Lackland Air Force Base. This documentary will introduce you to many of these incredibly talented military working dogs while focusing on the story of 12-year-old retired Navy military working dog Brix D141. Following ten years of dedicated service, including a tour of duty in Iraq, Brix was retired due to his PTSD. Brix must now take medication twice a day to help with his symptoms, yet he still hides from loud noises, constantly paces around the house, and retreats to his kennel crying almost everyday.
While Brix and all military working dogs risk their lives protecting our troops and country, they are officially classified as "equipment." This documentary looks at the current Congressional efforts to pass the “Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act,” which would reclassify these war heroes from "equipment" to K9 service members, providing them with recognition for outstanding service and medical benefits upon retirement.
"Dogs of War: The Fight Back Home" aims to bring public awareness to the status and role of military working dogs, while providing an in-depth and personal look at the psychological scars they must cope with post-war.
How YOU can help
You're still reading (thanks!) so here are some ways you can get involved with this documentary:
If you're able to, donations will help tremendously with the production and post-production costs of this film. I've tried to come up with some great perks for donors (lots of adorable and heroic dogs- who wouldn't want pictures and videos of them?!). I have personally funded most of the filming up to this point, but there's still a lot more to do. Your donations will enable me to go even deeper into this issue and continue filming. Most importantly, they will allow me to travel to Indiana and film a MWD handler who worked with Brix and can fill in the blanks of his story- what Brix's training, deployment, and missions stateside were like. He will shed some light on why Brix may have develpoed CPTSD. And then there is post-production, which will include hiring a narrator for the film.
If you can't donate, you can help by spreading the word. I'm working on this documentary because I want to share the stories of military working dogs, so if you can help raise awareness too, that's great! And if you can pass along this fundraising page, that's even better! (Check out the indiegogo share tools)
I have a real passion for animals and a deep interest in the effects that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to have on our country and troops (the two as well as the four-legged variety), which is where the idea to make this documentary originated. This is my first solo documentary endeavor and I couldn't be more excited about it, though I do have experience- I've helped work on three documentaries for CNN and I've produced shorter video stories that have appeared on NYC Television, in NYC taxi cabs, and online.
I'm based in New York City and grew up on Long Island. I received a dual BA degree from Colgate University and I am currently completing a Master's degree in News and Documentary Journalism at New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.
Questions or want to learn more?
Check out the facebook page for the documentary: www.facebook.com/DogsOfWarDoc
There are lots of photos, videos, and articles on there- and you can message me directly with any questions you may have.
THANK YOU for your interest in this documentary. Together we can get the incredible stories of these heroic military working dogs out there for all to see and hear!