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How one dog helped a veteran overcome PTSD

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“My husband Christopher told me that my world would be different after deployment… I experienced an overwhelming feeling of disconnect and isolation… it was as if I was a floating puzzle piece which did not fit or belong anywhere”

After Rebecca Linich returned home from her military service in the Australian Defense Force (ADF), her life had changed. After being exposed to a particularly disturbing event in her second deployment, Rebecca started to develop the debilitating symptoms of Post Tramautic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Sadly, recovering from PTSD is all too common for many veterans – both men and women – however, when left untreated it can develop into a chronic and far more complex condition.

While she was still deployed, Rebecca attempted to cope with the feelings of depression and anxiety by making light of certain events. She would make jokes and distract herself by keeping busy.

However, it wasn’t until Rebecca had returned to Australia that the true sense of her experiences hit her.

Getting out of bed each morning was the biggest hurdle of Rebecca’s day. Simple everyday tasks became struggles.      

Rebecca felt alone and became easily frustrated. Although her husband, Christopher had also served in the military, he didn’t seem to understand what she was going through. Although he was always supportive, she could not help but feel unsafe outside the walls of her own home. Most days she experienced persistent feelings of negativity and emotional reactions to reminders which often brought her to tears.

Then, Rebecca was given an amazing gift in the form of Tucky, a trained assistance dog from the Young Diggers Dog Squad. Tucky created a sense of safety and comfort for Rebecca, helping to calm her when she would feel uneasy. It can be difficult for veterans to escape the war mentality and fearing for their safety and wellbeing. It’s service dogs like Tucky who can allow veterans to overcome that mindset.

READ MORE: Digger Dogs to the rescue

Tucky and Rebecca have become not only best friends, but running partners, too. They exercise together in order to maintain a healthy mind and body. Running provides Rebecca with an upbeat attitude and a clear head. As her constant companion, Tucky helps her feel safe when things are out of her control. He has been trained to recognize her triggers and help her gain a sense of control and work through them. If Rebecca has a nightmare, Tucky will be there for her, and will sit patiently with her until she falls back asleep.

By combining Rebecca’s passion for running with time spent with her best mate, she has found a way to combat her symptoms of PTSD, and now feels stronger and happier than ever. Running alongside Tucky has given Rebecca a sense of empowerment; allowing her to push past the boundaries of her condition.

PAW by Blackmores is proud to celebrate PAW Legged Heroes such as Tucky and the incredible emotional and wellbeing benefits we gain from our pets. If you have a touching story about your PAW Legged Hero, please share it with us. Or simply share a picture of your pooch with the hashtag #PAWLeggedHero and tag @PAWbyBlackmores on Instagram or Facebook to be in the draw for a monthly care pack for your beloved dog.

For more information on Young Diggers Dog Squad visit their website.

 

Champions: Rebecca and Tucky at the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival 2016 pawleggedhero-digger-dogs-and-veterans-with-ptsd-Rebecca-and-Tucky-in-article