Forces Charities

RAF Veteran: I Got Through Lockdown Thanks To My Assistance Dog

Ali Ramsey says her dog has helped to improve her mental and physical health.

An RAF veteran says her dog helped her through the coronavirus lockdown.

Ali Ramsey was medically discharged from the RAF in 2005 due to a training injury.

She has suffered mentally and physically since, including  "very agoraphobic symptoms" in her depression and anxiety.

Getting out and about can be hard for Ms Ramsey who lives alone and away from family. 

All of this might have made the lockdown difficult but she had Clyde, an assistance dog given to veterans by Armed Forces charity Bravehound.

Labrador Clyde provides company and is also trained to help Ms Ramsey with practical needs.

"Before Clyde, there were days I couldn't even leave the house and that could go on for days and weeks," she said.

Veteran Ali Ramsey with Bravehounds dog Clyde 010920 CREDIT BFBS
Ms Ramsey said Labrador Clyde helps her when out of the house together.

Ms Ramsey was unable to attend her usual activities, which included Bravehound training and hydro pool sessions, but she said Clyde gave her a focus and routine.

"Losing all those activities we were just stuck in the house together, so I don't think I'd have got through it without him," she said.

Ms Ramsey also said Clyde provides a distraction from the pain of her injuries.

"I suffer so much pain that you don't want to do something for yourself, it's just too hard, it's too painful to go out and walk on your own," she said.

"But having the dog to walk for and to know that he needs it, he's a distraction as well from the pain when I go out on walks, he helps me get out when otherwise I wouldn't."