Carol Smillie .BACK A BRAVEHOUND CROWDFUNDER
Thank you to everyone who helped us raise £1,530
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Former TV presenter Carol Smillie is urging the public to get behind a drive to enable a Scottish charity to provide a veteran with an assistance dog.
Based in Lennoxtown, the charity BRAVEHOUND works across Scotland matching its specially trained dogs with veterans from all three branches of the armed forces struggling with Post Traumatic Service Disorder (PTSD) and/or physical disabilities as a a result of their military service.
Today, marks the launch of the organisation’s crowdfunding ‘BACK A BRAVEHOUND’ appeal which aims to raise £10,000 over two months to enable it to fund its next BRAVEHOUND dog.
BRAVEHOUND assistance dogs are carefully trained to respond to the needs of their veterans. This could mean identifying and interrupting flashbacks and nightmares, fetching medication, alerting passers-by to get help or putting themselves in the way of someone who approaches to protect a veteran’s physical space.
For many veterans, these animals can be the difference between life and death.
Back A Bravehound CrowdFunder
Nicola McAlley • STV News at Six © 2023
Ex army Staff Sergeant, Scott McCaig (50), from Forres, joined the military straight from school at the age of 16 and during his 27 years served in places like Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was medically discharged in July 2016 after being diagnosed with acute PTSD.
“On the 24th February 2003 we were deployed into Kuwait when the second Gulf War started. That’s when I started to feel unwell.”
“There was things that we had seen that didn’t leave you. From there I went off and did a further three tours out in Afghanistan and it was during my third tour there that a serious incident had happened and I was removed from theatre.”
“I ended up mixing a litre bottle of vodka and a box of Zopiclone sleeping tablets and having to cope with the fact that I did not want to be here anymore.”
Scott contacted BRAVEHOUND after hearing of the charity through the military and was matched with assistance dog, Paisley, a Golden Retriever in November 2021. Since then the two have been inseparable.
Scott and paisley
“I have been through two flashbacks in my sleep where I have been experiencing sights, sounds, smells, vivid, vivid dreams that I am back somewhere that I shouldn’t be. On those occasions I felt like there was a weighted blanket on my chest which was Paisley! She brought me out of flashbacks and was lying on top of me, licking my face with her head on my chest. That’s just one of the things Paisley does for me.
“Before Paisley arrived I could not leave the house myself and couldn’t interact with my own family and others in general. Having Paisley has changed everything and I am now able to do all these things. BRAVEHOUND has helped me to get my life back.”
Carol Smillie said: “As a dog lover I know just how much a dog can bring to your life but the contribution BRAVEHOUND’s assistance dogs make to the lives to veterans is immeasurable. That’s why I’m supporting this campaign and asking others to ‘BACK A BRAVEHOUND’ too.”