International Assistance Dog Week – Speech in the House of Representatives 09/08/23
Hansard 09/08/2023 House of Representatives
Mr LLEW O’BRIEN (Wide Bay) (13:33): This week is International Assistance Dog Week, and to mark the occasion I recognise a Wide Bay organisation, PTSD Dogs Australia, who believe that every rescue dog can save a human and every human can save a rescue dog. From their base in Cooroy in the Noosa hinterland, founders Angie and Roger Weeks run a charity dedicated to rescuing dogs which go on to rescuing veterans and first responders. Assistance dogs are trained to get veterans out of their heads and into their bodies with interruptive behaviours such as nuzzles or a touch to refocus them. At their first graduation ceremony at Cooroy RSL, we heard from veterans whose recent past had been dominated by suffering. They told us their dogs had given them a life worth living. PTSD Dogs Australia also operate the Animal Assisted Smiles Program, where trained therapy dogs are taken to nursing homes to visit the elderly as well as emergency personnel. It was established in 2018, and to date it has supported the training of 35 dogs and their handlers. Thanks to PTSD Dogs and their friends, volunteers and supporters for changing lives for the better.