Like most countries in the world Australia has a military and people are often asked to go and do things that the ordinary person would not even be able to comprehend. These people form the armed services who fight and are willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice it does not matter what country they belong to they all share that bond of brotherhood that can only be explained to someone who has stood in exactly the same shoes you have.
As a member of the Australian Military i have been on multiple active deployments that have taken me away from my family and friends on multiple occasions (both eve and RL) and i have done it for 12 years. Its funny i only signed on the dotted line for four years and 12 years later is still find myself getting dressed in a military uniform.
Unfortunately some of this service has taken a toll on me personally. I was recently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Major Depression coupled with anxiety attacks that can be brought on by simply crossing the road. The stigma of mental illness in Australia still exists that i suspect it does in many other countries, in particular with veterans. You see we are taught to turn on the kill switch but very few people are taught to turn it off. So when we come home we feel isolated distant or sometimes a different person. The world has moved on without us and we struggle to relate to our own families and friends. The expectations are the same, howerver some people just cant switch the brain off.
I got lucky after two failed suicide attempts and an intervention from my friends i voluntarily checked myself into a PTSD Mental Health facility that caters to serving and ex serving members of the military. Here i learned quite a lot about myself and about what it means to constantly have to battle my mind everyday. I also discovered a wonderful non profit charity group called Young Diggers.
Support and programs for serving and ex-serving military personnel and their families
It’s about YOU!
Young Diggers provides a variety of support services and programs to help serving and ex-serving personnel of the Australian Defence Force, their dependents and direct family members.
Whether you, or a family member, has served in the Army, Navy or Air Force on operational deployment or during peace time, or you a member of the Australian Federal Police who has served on peacekeeping missions, we are here for you. Our main objective is to enhance and maintain your quality of life during your transition from military to civilian life and help you overcome the difficulties you are facing.
On top of this they have what is known as a dog squad and this is where Ari my 2.5 year old German Shepherd comes into play
The Dog Squad
Assistance Dogs for Combat Stress and Physical/Mental Illness
The Young Diggers Dog Squad trains dogs to become Assistance Dogs to support our serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force members who are dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD). This program helps more than just the individuals.
The Dog Squad helps Defence families to better cope with the effects of PTSD and saves the lives of many rescued dogs.
Throughout this program, Young Diggers provides members with help and practical support to enhance the quality of life for both the dog and the individual.
We are an organisation that does not stigmatize, pass judgement or devalue those living with and suffering from combat stress and mental illness. We provide a safe environment for our members to network with one another, exchange training tips and support one another through tough times. Family members are welcome and encouraged to get involved with the Dog Squad training.
Each dog that they rescue and train is provided to a veteran in need. These dogs offer more than just companionship they have the ability to wake you from night terrors, sense when you’re about to have an anxiety attack and pull you out of flashbacks/day terrors. They also force you to interact in normal life again rather than shutting yourself away from people. Having to take the dog for a walk or go get dog food while it might seem like an easy ordinary task for some people can be a reach challenge
These dogs are vital to the rehabilitation and recovery for people suffering from Mental Illness brought on by their service to their country. I know this is an Australian program but it is one i hold very dear to my heart, because they saved my life.
So we as a directorship for DMG have decided that this is a worthwhile cause to get behind and support and we hope you do as well.
It takes $2500AU per dog to rescue, train and rehome with a needing veteran and like DMG leadership we are hoping that the DMG and SMA community can rally behind this great cause and help veterans in need no matter what country you are from.
If everyone in SMA donated $1 for each of their characters in SMA we would raise about $5000 which is enough to get two dogs fully trained, and provided to a needing Veteran
So regardless of your country of origin check out the site and make up your own mind and if you can please donate to the DMG Charity Paypal by clicking on the little link below and let’s see how far we can get as a group and community. Donations will close at the end of February and whatever we make will be given to Young Diggers.