VETERANS WANTED FOR PTSD ASSISTANCE DOGS PROGRAMME

Service Dogs UK, is currently calling for veteran applications from West Sussex, Surrey or East & North Hampshire to take part in their PTSD Assistance Dog Programme. The application process is open to veterans of both the Armed Forces and the Emergency Services.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can be a life disabling condition and the high price some pay for serving our country. It is easy to forget, that those who serve on the frontline, be it at home or abroad, often see and experience awful trauma so that you and I do not have to. Typically veterans struggle with social interaction, have strong feelings of despair, depression and suffer from flashbacks and nightmares. They often become increasingly withdrawn and isolated.

Specially trained dogs enable a veteran to take part in life again! It's being part of a team once more and having a dog to help you with specific tasks such as interrupting a flashback or nightmare. Service Dogs UK use rescue dogs who, just like their partners, will have to learn to trust again in many cases and will carry some battle scars themselves. To save or improve each others lives is hugely empowering.

Ajax is Service Dogs UK's first assistance dog in training. He is a handsome dog who was a stray and rescued by Dogs Trust. He is being trained by Army and Fire Service veteran Lee under the watchful eyes of our excellent dog trainers. While they are still very much at the start of their journey, Lee is finding that Ajax is bringing significant benefits, not only to him as a sufferer of PTSD, but to his family also. Training the dog, Lee has found, teaches him patience, helps with positivity and brings enormous satisfaction. Nearly 10 weeks into the programme, one veteran with severe PTSD is finding he has the motivation to train a dog and one rescue dog is finding he has what it takes to change a life. The teamwork required to succeed is challenging but so mutually beneficial and empowering.

- “He [Ajax] Gives me the ability to leave the house every day.”
- “Find a way to accept love as an emotion again”

These are huge steps for someone who struggles with emotional numbness and anxiety.

Are you a veteran of the Armed Forces and/or Emergency Services with PTSD, or know of someone, in West Sussex, Surrey or East & North Hampshire?

Do you wish to take part in our assistance dog programme - visit ServiceDogsUK.org/initial-interest for information.
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