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Dogs are helping vets to get well

Friday June 3rd 2016

Dogs helping to make vets better sounds like a classic role reversal. But in this case the vets are former army veterans who suffer with anxiety issues.

Rescue dogs are being trained up to help Army veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) under the new Service Dogs UK scheme.

Garry Botterill, a sergeant with Sussex Police, has co-launched the charity, which will also be available to 999 service workers with the condition.

He hopes the scheme will eventually go nationwide if successful, the BBC reports. Sgt Botterill says that canines not only lessen "startle responses", they also relieve stress by giving off a special stress-relieving chemical.

The US has spent millions studying this theory, he adds. Mark, an army veteran who formerly served in Afghanistan and Iraq during a 10-year stint, says Jerry his rescue dog has helped turn his life around.

He claims Jerry has given him a new focus and re-invigorated him after suffering PTSD. Jerry's presence means that Mark is forced to get out of bed in the morning and then feed and walk him.

Copyright Press Association 2016