Iraq veteran fights to keep therapy ducks
They're not your average therapy animal, but Iraq War veteran, Darin Welker, says his pet ducks have been critical in helping him recover from an injury and cope with his post-traumatic stress disorder. "One of the biggest [ways the ducks helped] was to get me some basic physical therapy and out of a chair," Welker explains. "[They] got me motivated to do something."
A little girl receiving tests is gazing into a water bin of baby ducks as one of the hospital's methods of using therapy with animals. (Photo by Francis Miller/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Three little boys reaching into a water bin of baby ducks as one of the hospital's methods of using therapy with animals. (Photo by Francis Miller/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
A child nurse cuddling a towel wrapped baby duck as one of the hospital's methods of using therapy with animals. (Photo by Francis Miller/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
A trained dolphin interacts with a girl during a dolphin therapy session in a dolphinarium in the Crimean resort town of Alushta, on April 24, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ YURIY LASHOV (Photo credit should read YURIY LASHOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Therapy dog at senior home
Visiting miniature horse
The Coshocton Tribune spoke with Welker, a West Lafayette, Ohio, man who says he was injured in Iraq in 2005 and got his 14 ducks in March. The problem is, he's violating a city ordinance against farm animals at residences.
According to Welker, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs paid for him to have back surgery in 2012 but didn't approve physical nor mental therapy.
Welker's story's been picked up by major outlets like USA Today and Time -- likely more unwelcome news for the VA, which has, of course, been embroiled in scandal for months, according to The New York Times. Welker does say he has a letter from the VA's mental health department recommending he keep the ducks.
And therapy ducks aren't unheard of. In general, animals are often used therapeutically, the American Humane Association says in particular for neglected children, patients undergoing especially difficult medical treatments and veterans.
Welker has a hearing scheduled for Wednesday afternoon and faces a $150 fine.
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