On July 28, 2010, the Army Family said goodbye to its beloved Sergeant First Class (SFC) Budge, who lost his short battle with lymphoma. Budge was just 5 years old. According to his family, He was not only an incredible friend, but a remarkable comfort provider who touched the lives of many service members at his numerous duty stations. His service included two tours in Iraq, one each at Fort Hood and Fort Bragg, and his final assignment at Fort Gordon. Budge and SFC Boe, both black Labradors, were the first dogs sent to Iraq as part of the Armys animal-assisted therapy. According to The U.S. Army Medical Department Journal, The program began in December 2007 when The Acting Surgeon General, MG Gale Pollock, approved the request of the 85th Medical Detachment, Combat and Operational Stress Control (COSC), to send two dogs to Iraq. The commander of the detachment anticipated that the dogs would provide an element of stress relief unmatched by any human. Psychological benefits continue to be documented, especially in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs estimates to affect 31 percent of Vietnam veterans, 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans and 11 percent of veterans of the war in Afghanistan. For more info on Budge and the Armys canine-assisted therapy in military medicine go to http://www.cs.amedd.army.mil/filedownloadpublic.aspx?docid=73e8d2aa-1a2a-467d-b6e3-e73652da8622.
Army Canine Assisted Therapy in Military Medicine