A South Australian veteran is the first to receive an assistance dog from one of two new providers under the Australian Government’s Psychiatric Assistance Dog Program.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said Xena, trained by the Royal Society for the Blind (RSB) in South Australia, has now been handed over to a veteran to support them with managing their post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“These dogs are specially trained to perform tasks that help with the recovery of their veteran handler and are trained to detect signs of distress and perform specific tasks to help alleviate those symptoms,” Mr Chester said.
“We are hearing stories every day of how the program is changing the lives of our veterans and improving their quality of life by helping them manage their PTSD symptoms on a daily basis.
“RSB is a 136-year-old organisation and their experience in training our canine companions will go a long way towards supporting veterans to manage their PTSD, which in turn helps those families that provide vital support.
“The Government’s program continues to deliver positive results by providing a psychiatric assistance dog to eligible veterans with PTSD as part of their ongoing mental health treatment plan.”
Xena and her veteran handler have now completed their training and share each day together.
“Xena has been just wonderful for me. She has made me feel calmer, more settled, and my housemates have already