The charity was founded in 2015 by Garry Botterill and Judith Broug who developed a friendship over a number of years because of their shared interest in assistance dogs and PTSD. They run the organisation on a voluntary basis.
In 2018 Service Dogs UK won the Soldiering on Award for Animal Partnership and also became ADI/ADEu Candidates with the clear aim to become full members in the coming year. Currently, the charity has 7 Assistance Dog Partnerships.
We have a team of like-minded people from all walks of life, all with a serious passion for improving the lives of PTSD veterans from the Armed Forces and Emergency Services; whether injured on the front line abroad or at home and for rescue dogs.
We have been very lucky in attracting wonderful sponsors, fantastic dog trainers, fosters, volunteers, fundraisers and others who have joined us in making the difference.
We are entirely voluntarily run.
Garry served in the Royal Navy for 6 years before joining the police and is from a family with strong connections to the military. As a frontline Police Sergeant, he has policed G8 and G20 conferences in Scotland, Ireland and Wales and the London Riots. he has been involved in several major crime investigations including high profile murders and terrorism cases. He was the Team Leader for the Sussex body recovery team in the immediate aftermath of the Shoreham Airshow crash in 2015.
He has a keen interest in dogs and their welfare and has introduced microchip scanners to his force. He developed a pilot project for veterans with PTSD to work with dogs to help comrades and colleagues. As a result of his determination to learn more about the positive effect specially trained dogs have on PTSD sufferers he was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship to research the subject in the USA and Holland in May 2015, to read his travel blog click here.
Garry is a Sussex Armed Forces Network ‘Champion’ for the police and is also a Mental Health Advocate within the organisation. He is passionate about providing help and support for veterans and colleagues in both the armed forces and emergency services and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health.
A keen runner and fitness enthusiast, Garry is Chairperson of the fitness club he runs at work. He lives in Hampshire and has two wonderful grown-up children of whom he is extremely proud! His dogs; Buddy and Max, were ‘rescues’ from Ireland. They often accompany him on his runs and although not assistance dogs they enthusiastically represent the charity as ‘Ambassadogs!’
Judith’s background is rescue dogs, canine nutrition and general animal welfare and has been a campaigner of many years to improve the welfare of animals and has/is been involved with various charities and rescues.
Over the more recent years, she has worked with veteran organisations which sparked her passion for PTSD in the armed forces and emergency services and continues to research this.
She is heavily involved with, through her work, with mental health in the Emergency Services, vulnerable people and young people. She is an Australian born, Dutch-raised and in her professional life runs a UK-based design and marketing company called MissyRedBoots.
Judith is also an accomplished Animal Welfare campaigner, such as a.o. the successful “Allen Titchmarsh vs Cesar Milan”, “Don’t Cook Your Dog”, “Keith Lemon’s Pets As Prizes”, “Samsung TV’s Adversarial Training App’s” and “Lloyds/Halifax Lifetime Pet Insurance Scandal”.
Judith shares her life with 3 rescue dogs of her own: Rothko, possibly the most handsome and playful Heinz 57 ever rescued from a Dog Pound: Nadar, a sleek and beautiful Lab/Weimaraner cross, taken in after a local “accident” which created 10 more in need of homes; and Merz, a “failed” rescue foster, and a cross between a Rottweiler, Dalmatian and Greyhound – who is perhaps best described as the indestructible “robodog”, but with brains!
In her time off Judith enjoys reading and researching.
Garry and Judith also created and developed the first Mental Health phone App for Police Officers and staff; Backup Buddy and continue to promote mental health wellness in other areas.