Ahead of World Mental Health Day on 10th October, Veterans With Dogs has launched a campaign to raise £44,444 to fund two assistance dogs for veterans with invisible injuries such as PTSD.
Called 4PAWS For Mental Health, the campaign is seeking to raise awareness of how the four paws of an assistance dog can have a positive impact on the mental health of veterans in the UK.
Commenting on the campaign, Veterans With Dogs founder and CEO, Craig MacLellan said, “This campaign is inspired by Fudge, the chocolate Labrador who is directly responsible for us setting up Veterans With Dogs. She had a profound impact on a group of veterans who were undergoing a programme of residential treatment for PTSD, providing comfort to those suffering in silence, enabling veterans to feel grounded and safe, and find their voice.
“On discovering that there were no psychological assistance dog programmes in the UK, we set up Veterans With Dogs back in 2012. Since then we have helped over 90 veterans and we continue to campaign to stop the stigma surrounding mental health. We are committed to helping our veterans lead more independent lives but, sadly, the need for our services is growing.
“It costs around £25,000 to fund an assistance dog for the duration of its working life and we hope that this campaign will enable us to help two more veterans turn their lives around.”
Veterans With Dogs trains and provides assistance dogs for current and former members of the British Armed Forces with service-related mental health conditions using its unique PALS (Partner Animals Life Skills) training programme. The training is a combination of home support and residential courses, with annual assessments thereafter to maintain the fully accredited assistance dog status. The dogs that undergo this training are always ‘on shift’, providing the veteran with 24/7, 365 days of assistance. They not only change the lives of the veterans - in some cases, they save them too.
To find out more information about the campaign, or to make a donation in the name of your own ‘four paws’, you can visit the fundraising page here.