Veteran's Charity Is Top Dog

A charity that helps military veterans adjust to civilian life by pairing them with dogs has been named as the nation’s favourite.

The Scottish charity, named Bravehound, was launched just last year, with the aim of providing veterans with support and companionship.

The dogs allow them to deal more effectively with their PTSD, and to adjusting to life outside of the military.

Veteran Mick McConnell, who lost a leg while serving in Afghanistan, received Sasha, a sprocker spaniel from the charity earlier this year.

He said:

"My sniffer dog Memphis was with me when I was injured in Afghanistan and when he was retired, I was able to be reunited with him. He helped me through some dark days as I recovered from my injuries.

"Sadly Memphis passed away earlier this year and I was devastated. But thanks to Bravehound, I was introduced to Sasha and we are inseparable. She is such a great help to me - she gets me out and about and makes me laugh all the time."

The project was setup with the help of National Lottery funding and in a recent poll to find out the nation’s favourite lottery-funded cause, Bravehound came out on top.

Invictus Games medallist JJ Chalmers visited the organisation to deliver the award.

He said:

"It can be difficult to adjust after leaving the armed forces, especially for those who have experienced trauma in combat. But these companion dogs and the support from charity provide great comfort to those fortunate enough to receive them.

"They fully deserve this National Lottery Award - National Lottery players should be very proud to have helped fund the wonderful Bravehounds."

Founder and director of the charity, Fiona Macdonald, said:

"We believe dogs can help heal the invisible wounds that those who have seen military action carry with them."

"We are delighted to have won a National Lottery Award and to be recognised in this way by the public, not just in Scotland but throughout the UK.

"I'd like to thank everyone who voted for us and everyone who plays the National Lottery for enabling us to provide this vital service for our veterans."