Posted on January 24, 2019
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. 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. 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.”