It’s OK to be not OK
Today I was at an event in the Adelaide Hills with 2 of my grandsons. We had the good fortune to meet a man called Peter at a stall for the Royal Society for the Blind (RSB).
Peter had his Assistance Dog, Ruby with him. Peter is a returned soldier and has been in military service from 17 years until 62 years. He very kindly took my 7 year old grandson through all of his medals, carefully explaining each one so that he could understand.
Peter told us that his therapy dog, Ruby had saved his life. Ruby is part of a program between the Royal Society or the Blind and the Returned Services League. The RSB Assistance Dog program changes the lives of people in need every day. The service changes the lives of people who are blind or vision impaired, children with Autism and people with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD).
RSB Assistance Dogs accompany their owners everywhere, including on public transport and in shopping centres, cinemas and restaurants. They are trained to carry out a range of tasks aimed at reducing anxiety as well as being a friend and companion while participating in daily activities.
Operation K9 is a joint program provided by the Returned Services League (RSL-SA) and the Royal Society for the Blind (RSB). Operation K9 dogs are provided to Veterans of the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) who have a diagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to Operational Service.
Instead of providing assistance to people who cannot see, K9 Assistance Dogs provide assistance to people who have seen too much.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a particular set of reactions that can develop in people who have been through a traumatic event which threatened their life or safety, or that of others around them. This could be a car or other serious accident, physical or sexual assault, war or torture, or disasters such as bushfires or floods. As a result, the person experiences feelings of intense fear, helplessness or horror. Beyond Blue, find more information here.
Some of the ways that Ruby assists Peter are:
- Helping him to socialise
- Being with him all the time as an around the clock reliable support
- Getting into bed with him when he has nightmares
Thankyou Peter and Ruby for your generous time and information about this wonderful program.
Remember, Mental Health is everyone (and their dog’s) business.