First six assistance dogs delivered to veterans in La Trobe research trial

The first six assistance dogs, in a program that will provide 20 assistance dogs in total, have been handed over to participating trial veterans at their homes, a milestone for the veterans involved and the DVA's research trial conducted by the La Trobe University. 

21 April 2020

DVA is working with the La Trobe University to trial assistance dogs to complement evidence-based treatment for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

The provider of the dogs, Dogs for Life (also known as the Centre for Service and Therapy Dogs Australia), handed the dogs over to their new veteran owners to start the next phase of their comprehensive training. After 12 months of training with Dogs for Life instructors, this next phase of training involves the dogs learning the specific needs of their new owner within the veteran’s everyday environment and allows our veterans to begin their special relationship with their new assistance dog. 

Assistance dogs are specially trained to perform ‘tasks’ that contribute to the clinical recovery goals of the individual. The assistance dog will be integrated as part of a clinical care plan involving the veteran and their mental health clinician. Research and evidence gained from this trial will further the understanding of ways veterans with PTSD can be supported.   

In addition to the La Trobe trial, DVA can now provide assistance dogs to eligible veterans as part of their treatment for PTSD. Clinicians of eligible veterans with PTSD who are in treatment with a psychiatrist or a psychologist can request funding for an assistance dog, under the Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP). Visit the DVA website for more information.

If you are struggling during this time or need someone to talk to, contact our 24/7 Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling service on 1800 011 046.