RSB OPK9 Welcomes new graduates

Man with black Assistance Dog on a stage

RSB OPK9 Welcomes 8 New Graduates to it’s ranks

Today RSB celebrated the graduation of 8 veterans and their assistance dogs. The RSB OPK9 program partners highly trained assistance dogs with veterans experiencing PTSD. The graduation is the culmination of many months of intensive training and carefully matching veterans with the right dog for them. RSB OPK9 is a leading specialist program in the field, delivering positive clinical outcomes for these veterans’ who experience mental health issues at a far higher rate than the general community.

As demand for the program continues to grow, RSB has been bolstered by the announcement that program partner, the Masonic Charities Trust, has committed a $300,000 donation to grow the capacity of the program. David Booker, the Grand Master of Freemasons South Australia and Northern Territory attended the graduation and said they were proud to be part of such a life changing program.

RSB Executive Director, Damian Papps said the program has been a great success story. “The quality of the dogs we provide has contributed to the restoring of hope for an increasing number of veterans as they seek to manage their PTSD challenges,” Mr Papps said. “The support of groups such as Masonic Charities Trust has been a fundamental part or RSB being able to expand and grow the program.”

For the first time, former graduates of the program were also present on the day, to congratulate and welcome the class of 2021-22 to their ranks. The RSB OPK9 graduation was held at the Repat Health Precinct where participants and alumni were joined by family members, program partners, and the program’s trainers and volunteers.

The RSB Dog program relies on the dedication of hundreds of volunteers to help raise and train their puppies and dogs, in a home environment, where they are fully socialised, to help ensure future assistance dogs of the highest standard. As the RSB OPK9 program expands, so does the need for more volunteers to help raise the next generation of OPK9 puppies. This year RSB will be putting the call out to the South Australian community to join their puppy team.

RSB OPK9 is funded by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

To find out more about volunteering with RSB  CLICK HERE

For more background about RSB’s OPK9 program CLICK HERE