In February 2019, Veterans SA partnered with the Operation K9 program, providing sponsorship for an OpK9 dog.
Operation K9 is a program provided by the Royal Society for the Blind (RSB). Its purpose is to provide assistance dogs to Veterans of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) who have a diagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Operation K9 Dogs are accredited assistance dogs that provide support, independence and social interaction, tailored to a Veteran’s needs. Operation K9 Dogs can perform tasks such as retrieve medication, seek help, interrupt episodes of stress and anxiety, and many other physical tasks that may be needed.
To be eligible to apply for an Operation K9 Dog the applicant must have served in the ADF (or currently be in the process of retiring from the ADF) and have a diagnosed PTSD that has been acquired during their operational military service. All applicants must be over 18 years of age and a resident in South Australia.
At approximately 14 months of age, once puppies have spent the required time with RSB Puppy Educators, the dogs are assessed and a decision is made which puppies are suited to be trained as OpK9 dogs. Once this has been determined, the process of matching a dog and veteran begins. Operation K9 dogs are not a ‘one size fits all’. Each dog, once matched with their owner, is trained according to the requirements of the veteran. A tailor-made assistance dog!
There are both physical and psychological health benefits for those who have an assistance dog including reduction in anxiety, depression and loneliness as well as an increase in social interaction and general well-being.
We look forward to keeping you updated with the progress of the partnership between Veterans SA and the Operation K9 program. Below you will find our monthly articles about our partnership with Operation K9.