Our mission is to match our pups with our Veterans. The RSB Assistance Dog Service, through its bespoke OPK9 program, works to provide assistance dogs for Veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD through their operational service with the Australian Defence Forces.
This week Only
With thanks to Daronmont Technologies – A South Australian based Defence Technology company supporting the ADF and Veterans for over 20 years – every dollar you donate will be matched up to a total of $30,000! EACH $30,000 will provide one more mate! So, get on board, JOIN our ‘Mission 4 Mates’ and make sure you turn your $20 gift into $40. The mission runs until 19 February.
Finding the right mate – The matching process
This is more than a science and more than art. This is where the skills, experience and teamwork that is at the heart of the RSB Guide and Assistance Dog Service really does its job. Matching an RSB Assistance Dog with a Veteran is a carefully curated process, one involving the veteran, their immediate and extended family, various medical and other allied health professionals, our expert training and instructing staff and of course our wonderful dogs. The process can take several months and at all times the mission to successfully ‘match mates’ remains central to the teams work.
Matching the right dog with a veteran is unique to each individual and their family… and the dog. RSB’s expert guide and assistance dog team oversee the matching process with the support of medical and other professionals. The matching process takes several months and involves the veterans doctor and clinical support team, with input also from their psychologist and/ or psychiatrist prior to the training stages.
Family involvement is also important, with partners, children and extended family members invited to take place in the process from early on (where relevant). The veteran is always present for these meetings.
A curated courtship!
The matching process is curated by RSB. Veterans attend training and getting to know you sessions with a range of RSB assistance dogs, and our team look for the indicators that veteran and animal are a great match.
It can be love at first sight, or it can take time to establish trust and respect between Veteran and dog. Veterans are encouraged to take the dogs with them and see what it is like to have a companion 24/7, and make sure they are comfortable in their own environment and in their own lifestyles settings. Throughout this effective ‘courtship’ the RSB team monitors Veteran and animal to gauge how the relationship is developing.
Once the match has been made, RSB works extensively with the veteran and the dog on the veterans specific needs, as well as ‘every day’ training. The needs for our clients are as unique as they are, so RSB works closely with each veteran, identifying their anxiety cues and how the dogs can interrupt them through physical contact such as placing their head on their lap, hugging or nudging.
RSB Assistance dogs also learn to retrieve items when asked, such as finding the leash which can help with motivation for the Veteran to take the dog out for a walk and can also helpful if the veteran is experiencing memory loss. Lost keys or other household items can often be a cause of stress for veterans with PTSD. Having their dog find the lost item can help ensure that the situation doesn’t escalate.
One veteran in the program identified a cue as waking in the night from nightmares. RSB was able to train his dog to jump on the bed and apply pressure across his chest when he woke upon a verbal signal.
RSB assistance dogs are not a cure for PTSD. They are however a wonderful addition to the therapeutic options available to support Veterans.
They deliver results…
So, please JOIN our Mission 4 Mates.
More Veterans are in need of a best mate NOW and we need your support in our mission.
Your donation to our Mission 4 Mates will be matched dollar-for-dollar (up to $30,000) by Daronmont Technologies.