A new initiative unveiled in Canberra today will see retired racing greyhounds be paired up with retired police officers struggling with PTSD.
The joint initiative between the Australian Federal Police Association [AFPA], Greyhound Racing NSW, and Greyhounds Australasia will see the pooches retrained for the purpose of serving as companion animals for the officers.
Greyhound Racing NSW CEO Robert Macaulay, said the men and women of the Australian Federal Police do an extraordinary job all over Australia.
“[They’re] protecting Australia’s interest and enforcing the law, and that often leads to very stressful events for them,” he said.
“Some of them, like other people in stressful vocations, end up with PTSD and our especially trained dogs can assist retired police officers recover and live with PTSD.”
Mr. Macaulay said, “It’s a fantastic marriage between a retired athlete dog and a retired police officer, to get the best outcomes for them both.”
Dog trainer Steve Austin is taking part in the retraining initiative, and he said it will give the Greyhounds a new home, and will help the dogs in a lot of ways.
“Greyhounds make great pets,”
“It gives them a second chance at life because when their racing career is over, or they might have a niggling or a slight injury, or a situation like that, they get to go to a really nice home.”
He explained that some of the pre-training is to sort out any issues with chasing, which is a strong trait used in racing.
“Dog-wise the PTSD dog must be a very calming dog. The main role for a PTSD dog is to calm down the anxiety and one way of doing that is to pat a dog!”
“As we all know, once we pat a dog and give the dog a tickle under the chin or a pat behind the ears the dog is very comforting…” he said, “so we… feel very comfortable as well, as human beings.”
“Been going on for about 100 thousand years I suppose,” he said.
It’s hoped the program can be the first of many, marking the start of a great collaboration. For anyone interested in learning more about the program, and the work of Greyhounds Australasia, you can check out their website here.