From Rescue to PTSD Assistance Dogs (Benny & Bella)
Service Dogs UK, are pleased to announce that another 2 veteran/assistance dog partnerships graduated this weekend!
Steve with Benny and Terry with Bella graduated this weekend! We are so so very proud of both of them. Steve and Terry are Army veterans who really struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and were partnered with Dogs Trust dogs Benny and Bella. It is difficult to put into words how far they have come, but from our perspective, we have gained 2 superb teams! The dogs have been brilliantly trained by Steve and Terry under the guidance of our training team and they will continue to learn and grow together with ongoing support from Service Dogs UK.
During our graduation weekend we really put our Assistance Dog Partnerships through their paces with many challenges such as public transport which for many with PTSD is hard enough, nevermind in a test setting, we’ve been to the cinema, did a spot of shopping on a busy Saturday and both teams passed with flying colours – all that training and homework over the last 9-12 months paid off. The bond these ex-rescues have with their veterans is outstanding; always there to comfort, to aid and to help with tasks. These dogs have given Terry and Steve a sense of independence and calm but also a sense of pride and real achievement. The difference from the start of the programme to how they are now is immense, Benny on his first training session, jumped out of the window into the play area and was nicknamed the ‘hooligan’ but all that has changed! He is now a fully fledged responsible PTSD Assistance Dog who has mastered many skills for aiding with a disability. Bella has gone from forever meandering to a very focussed PTSD Assistance Dog… who has a distinctively proud lady swagger!
Steve and Terry really pushed themselves, not just for the test, but throughout the programme. They put their trust in us to challenge them to do things that are way out of their comfort zone such as bus and rail trips. Their confidence has grown enormously and they are now even able to give presentations to the public, their huge smiles reflect how far they have come!
We couldn’t have done it of course without the support of our amazing dedicated trainers. They were also mentored by our assistance dog team Mark & Jerry who were one of our first PTSD Assistance Dog Partnerships last year and who supported them throughout.
A new journey begins now for Steve with Benny, Terry and Bella but they will continue to be part of Service Dogs UK family.
Service Dogs UK is open for Application from Veterans/Members of the Armed Forces and Emergency Services, with a clinical PTSD diagnosis in West Sussex, Surrey and East & North Hampshire – click here to find out more.