Veterans

Meet The PTSD Assistance Dog Making The Daily Commute Possible

Ziggy can predict when his owner is going to struggle by sensing changes in his body’s chemistry.

Assistance dog Ziggy and Richard have been nominated for a Soldiering On 2019 'Animal Partnership Award'.

Richard Mearns served in Iraq as a medic in 2003 and six years later was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

In 2016, his life changed when he was partnered with an assistance dog, Ziggy.

Ziggy Service Dog Soldiering On

By sensing changes in his body's chemistry, Ziggy is able to predict when Mr Mearns is going to struggle.

"He's enabled me to do day-to-day things, simple things that most people take for granted."

With Ziggy's help, the veteran's flashbacks are shortened and reduced.

Ziggy Service Dog Soldiering On

On Richard's commute to work, crowded platforms can trigger his anxiety but Ziggy helps him relax if it gets too busy and can walk in circles to create more space:

"My personal space is a lot more precious to me than most just because it affects me a lot more than other people.

"Ziggy has got this natural ability to identify when someone is approaching that space... He will move out and walk around and gently guide people around me."

Their special relationship may soon be award-winning, as Mr Mearns has been nominated for the 2018 Soldiering On 'Animal Partnership Award'.  

"To have the opportunity to showcase what Ziggy does and what a difference he has made to my life... It's amazing.

 

"I have post-traumatic stress and I'm not going to let it rule me, I'm going to rule it and use it to help other people. 

"I wouldn't have done that if it wasn't for Ziggy - and to be fair, I probably wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Ziggy."