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OpK9 – Graduation & Beyond

As we covered in last months Advanced Training article, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to matching an Operation K9 dog with a veteran.

Each veteran experiences PTS in their own way and every dog has its own personality and strengths. A huge amount of thought and expertise goes into matching a dog with the right qualities and temperament to fulfil such an important role.

Every veteran’s experience of PTS is unique and the following story demonstrates the positive difference an OpK9 dog can make.

Matt’s story

Over the last 10 years, Australian Defence Force veteran, Matt, and his family have been through a tough time. But with the help of his OpK9 Assistance Dog, Laney, they can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Following deployments that included Timor, Bougainville, the Solomon Islands and Afghanistan, Matt’s story follows a similar pattern to many of our veterans who return suffering PTS. He was angry, drinking too much and taking thoughtless risks. His relationship with his wife and children disintegrated and he couldn’t hold down a job. His life was falling apart.

The improvement in Matt since Laney came into his life has been amazing. Now he has reunited with his family and Matt’s wife says that day by day, the man she married is returning.

“I talk to Laney as if she’s a person”, says Matt. “We’ve been together constantly since we met. If I’m showing signs of a flashback or night terrors, she reads the situation and places her nose on me. She’s grounding me and calming me down. She’s saying, ‘it’s alright, I’m here, you’re safe’.”

Matt can’t remember anything from his toughest times or the triggers behind his PTS.  “We haven’t started working on the trauma yet”, he says. “But with Laney by my side, I know that when the time comes, we’ll get through it together”.

Making a world of difference

Transition back into civilian life is hard enough, but it becomes an uphill struggle to get your life back on track when you’re suffering from depression, anxiety, insomnia and social isolation due to PTS. A highly trained Operation K9 dog can make a world of difference

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