WHEN the mental and physical effects of a life-long vestibular disorder forced him to move back to his mother’s house for help, Service veteran Nick Taylor found extra support in the form of a four-legged friend.

Nick, who completed two tours of Afghanistan, said: “My health condition was getting no better. I could easily spend up to a week indoors. I thought I would never be able to work or have social life again.

“Then, nine months after my illness started, my mother and I decided to rescue a dog – a bullmastiff cross called Alfie. Little did I know that this would be the start of my revival and a way forward to rebuild my life.

“I went from being withdrawn and staying in, to leaving the house almost every day to walk Alfie. We started just going around the block, leading to longer walks in different areas. After a few months I even managed to start back in the gym.”

Whilst out walking he had the idea to start walking other dogs too. “I realised that I had so many hours in the day in which I could manage certain tasks,” said Nick.

In August last year, he started his own dog walking business – Taylor and Pooch – and it has has gone from strength-to-strength. “Even if I didn’t have my health issues, this business would have been the perfect way for me to transition between the military and civilian life,” he explained.

Nick is now looking at ways to expand his business to include other veterans, especially those struggling or in need. He explained: “By teaming up with a veteran’s charity, I hope to provide a place where veterans can come to interact with dogs. These dogs will be trained to help serving and ex-serving soldiers with PTSD. I know through my own experience how much dogs have saved my life in more than one way.”

Laura Lewin, AFF Employment & Training Specialist, added: “It is nice to hear a positive outcome to Nick’s situation. If you are setting up a business, there are lots of organisations out there willing to help. To find out more, contact me at etam@aff.org.uk.”

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