A NEW charity is giving rescue dogs a second chance in life by training them to help Service veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Service Dogs UK is following the example of organisations in the United States by using canines as a therapeutic tool in the treatment of the condition. Dogs used by the charity are “rescues” who are as much in need of help as the veterans themselves.

Assistance dogs can ease many of the symptoms associated with PTSD by providing a feeling of well-being and helping to deal with anxiety, nightmares, being in public and feelings of being alone. They can also help veterans to be more sociable, communicate with people, re-engage in the community, get out more and enjoy life.

The charity aims to train its dogs to help veterans with their specific symptoms and to provide a dependable friend.

In return, the veteran has to work as part of a team again – something they can usually identify with. It will require them to commit to the dog’s welfare and training needs while forming an unbreakable bond of trust, respect and love.

Give a dog a home

It takes approximately £5,000 for the charity to train an assistance dog. Rescue dogs are initially placed with a foster home for two-to-three months for an assessment and basic training before being placed with a veteran to complete their journey.

To show your appreciation to those who have experienced trauma and are paying the price for their Service, why not get involved? Whether you donate, organise a fundraising event or sign up as a foster for one of these special dogs – Service Dogs UK needs you.

To start with, the initiative is planned for Hampshire, Sussex and Surrey, but Service Dogs UK is ambitious and ultimately hopes to be nationwide.

Visit www.servicedogsuk.org to find out more.

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