Positive Pathways helps Veterans with PTSD with the ‘4 Paws 4 Veterans’ project
The Trust’s programme Positive Pathways awarded Service Dogs UK £70,000. Service Dogs UK helps Armed Forces Veterans with PTSD by partnering them up with specially selected rescue dogs and guiding them to train these dogs to become their own fully accredited Assistance Dogs. This project funded by the Trust has provided six more veteran and dog partnerships.
Service Dogs UK is an Armed Forces and Emergency Services Charity that helps those that are injured as a result of the service they have given, by providing them with Assistance Dogs from rescue to mitigate their PTSD symptoms and improve their lives.
“Having Dottie my Service Dogs UK has changed my life over the last 6 months. I am doing day to day things like going to the shops and getting out the house again after battling with PTSD”.Patrick D – Veteran Beneficiary
At the ‘4 Paws 4 Veterans‘ dog training, Veterans meet up and train their dogs under expert guidance. There is a strong social aspect to this, the Veterans enjoy doing something positive in company with others who have PTSD. It is a structured programme in a safe and nurturing environment. Each Saturday morning going into town as a group and practising their skills in shops, cafes and parks. The veterans and their dogs also go on regular ‘field trips’ to practise on public transport; trains and buses and in a wide variety of different locations.
“I’m now sleeping again because he’s beside me and when I start developing a sweat he wakens me before it becomes a night terror. If we’re in the supermarket and I feel shaky all I have to do is say ‘exit’ and he’ll get me to the wall and outside, avoiding crowds. If I have my head in my hands he’ll slide under my arms to get to me. He’s transformed my life.”Veteran Beneficiary
All the Veterans have reported significant improvement in their condition and their quality of life as a result of being on the ‘4 Paws 4 Veterans’ programme. Aside from the specific tasks the dogs perform to help Veterans they are also loving, dependable companions who can lower anxiety and grow feelings of trust and safety. The dogs provide the motivation for Veterans to get out twice a day and while the Veterans are nurturing and teaching their dogs they are also integrating with their community, for some this is something they had been unable to do.
Some of beneficiaries of the programme have physical disabilities as well as PTSD, so the training is adapted to meet their needs and additionally provide them with the skills to train the dog to assist with their individual requirements.
“The vital funding from the Positive Pathways Programme to Service Dogs UK has enabled me to get my life back on track and has been invaluable in improving myself-care”Glen – Veteran Beneficiary
“My place on the Service Dogs UK programme was made possible by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust Positive Pathways funding and I found it invaluable, therapeutic and life changing.”
“Without the funding from the Positive Pathways Programme I would not have been able to complete the Service Dogs UK programme. At a time when I was out of work and financially struggling, the help the Trust gave enabled me to complete the programme. Logi has now meant I have a job, a purpose and a future I am now looking forward to. Thank you”David H. – Veteran Beneficiary
I was invited on to the Service Dogs UK programme and met Ollie. A couple of training sessions and a couple of overnighters later he came home with me and he’s transformed my life.”Martin D – Veteran Beneficiary