How does Service Dogs UK support British Veterans?
Veterans’ Foundation is proud to support Service Dogs UK - a charity dedicated to rescuing dogs, training them for 9 months and paring them with Veterans who need support. Service Dogs UK often hears Veterans say that a service dog saved their life.
The dogs perform all the usual assistance dog tasks but also wake Veterans from nightmares, interrupt flashbacks or disassociation, provide ‘grounding’ and reassurance, fetch medications, provide positional support and take Veterans to an exit when they feel overwhelmed. Having the dog as a partner gives the Veteran a loyal companion and a reason to get out of the house. Dogs share oxytocin with their owner which helps reduce anxiety and stress, for a person with PTSD, this is often a lifeline.
Service Dogs UK has a special partnership with Dogs Trust who provide the dogs, then the charity’s Fab Fosters help get them ready for the training programme where the lives of the Veteran and the rescue dog are brought together.
Royal Airforce Veteran Dave explains why his dog Logi is important to him - “Logi helps me in many direct ways. If I have a nightmare, he wakes me with his big, wet nose, poking me with it until I wake up, then he lies next to me because he knows I’m upset.”
“He will drag me towards an exit if I’m in a shop and am getting overwhelmed. His best bit is that if I am feeling sad, vulnerable or anxious all I have to do is crouch down and he will “go tall” and put his paws on my shoulders to shield and comfort me.”
“Logi has given me my life back. I can go out now after so long isolating myself”.
How has Veterans’ Foundation supported Service Dogs UK?
Service Dogs UK is based on the south coast of England and has a training base in West Sussex and another in Somerset. The need for the charity is widespread, it will soon be opening another hub in Suffolk and has plans to open other hubs to help more Veterans in future. The support of Veterans’ Foundation is key to helping Service Dogs UK with this expansion. Those Veterans who have completed the programme are enthusiastic supporters of the charity, they know first hand the power of bonding with their assistance dog and how it transforms their lives.
Army Veteran James explains how the charity has helped him: “The time I spent with Service Dogs UK was really enjoyable, they always made me feel welcome and I made new friends. It gave a sense of pride and achievement”.
To date, Veterans’ Foundation has given over £4 million to over 250 UK military charities and projects. We intend to give even more, but we need your help. Please donate today or play the Veterans Lottery to support our Veterans and be in with the chance to win £35,000 every month.