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Shane trained for three days on the local trails and then took his own six dog team in to the back country for an overnight trip with the dogs. It was a fun trip for all. We’ll let Shane tell you about it himself.

Fellow outdoor enthusiast,
My name is Shane Land.  I am a Disabled Combat Medic Veteran of Iraq.

Shane and DiegoThe therapy that most veterans  with disabilities currently receive is that of infrequent visits with a counselor or psychologist or psychiatrist where they are encouraged to discuss their feelings and are often provided medications to suppress those feelings.  Many times, veterans are simply uncomfortable with expressing themselves to someone they do not know however, veterans seem to always gravitate towards other veterans and freely share their feelings with each other. At the current time, the Veterans Administration and their staffs across the United States seem to have a difficult time understanding the “why” veterans are so closed off from their therapy.  The answer is one that is often heard in their offices, “you wouldn’t understand because you weren’t there.”  While many employees of the VA are veterans themselves, many of the counselors are not but they do their best to facilitate focus groups among many veterans at one time.

For me, it just does not work.  So, what type of therapy does work?  Outdoor therapy that is both challenging and rewarding while at the same time provides a comfortable environment for unmonitored and undocumented freedom to speak and express themselves openly.  This therapy is what works!

I recently attended a five day camp in Fairbanks, AK, with Noble Paws, where I learned to dog mush.  The adventure was covered by a correspondent from ABC News (ABC News Second Tour) and the piece will air sometime in April.  The camp included three days of training and a two day trip into the backcountry which I found extremely challenging and therapeutic.  It brought me peace of mind and I was allowed to share experiences without the documented judgment of a counselor.  Speaking from my experience, I feel that every single hour I spent in the outdoor environment undertaking this new challenge was worth more than any ten hours spent talking to a counselor in an office. While veterans also need formal therapy, the outdoor adventures and challenges they face can cross over in to the formalized setting and assist the veteran with challenges in daily living.

L. Shane Land

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