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Winston Churchill Memorial Trust PTSD Research

Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship

Awarded to Sergeant Garry Botterill Sussex Police in February 2015 for PTSD Research

Garry’s Statement:

I am thrilled to have been awarded a WCMT Travelling Fellowship in February this year. It gives me an incredible opportunity to travel abroad and research how dogs can mitigate the symptoms of PTSD in Veterans of the Armed Forces and Emergency Services. My aim is to learn about the way dogs are of therapeutic use and how they provide practical assistance in the USA. I have friends and colleagues who have served in the Forces and the Emergency Services who suffer from this debilitating illness and I am delighted to have the chance to research the subject so that we can seek to improve the care of our veterans here at home.

My research will be looking at how the recipients of the dogs benefit and how programmes are structured to train and provide these specially trained dogs to the Veterans. I will be going to San Francisco in April and spending two weeks at the Bergin Canine University before travelling inland to New Mexico and South Carolina where I will conclude my visit to the USA with a trip to Washington. During this time I will visit some of the most innovative and inspirational non profit organisations in America. These organisations provide dogs that change Veteran’s lives for the better, in some cases Veterans would even say that the dogs were responsible for saving their lives. I will then travel to Amsterdam where I will meet trainers from the Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation who have had great success training dogs to help those with PTSD.

My aim is to use this knowledge to progress a PTSD Pilot Programme that I have devised where Veterans from the Armed Forces and Emergency Services work alongside assistance dogs in the UK. I will also implement methods to further the training of assistance dogs to help those with PTSD. I will submit a detailed report on my return and put to use the research where it can be accessed by the people who need it most here at home. The WCMT has made this possible, their support, guidance and help has been amazing and I would urge anyone who has a project that requires overseas research to consider applying to them for a Fellowship. The process of applying and being successful has given me the confidence to push ahead with my Charitable Organisation; Service Dogs UK.

There is a very clear and urgent need to help our veterans, I believe that the WCMT has enabled me to carry out valuable research that will allow that help to be delivered more quickly.

My travels and the results of my findings will be published in the form of updates and blogs on this website and Service Dogs UK Facebook page.

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