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'My dog got me through PTSD' says returned soldier

RETURNED soldier Leonard Bigler, a former medic with the 8-9 Royal Australian Regiment, credits his staffy, Jessie, with turning his life around.

Having been diagnosed with PTSD after stints in East Timor and Afghanistan, Mr Bigler said he had no idea what was wrong with him when he returned home and his marriage broke down.

"I was a medic with 8-9 RAR and I saw a lot of kids, I had to treat them, and the memories just don't go away," Mr Bigler said.

"It's like they are etched in your brain ... I dream about them all the time ... well they're nightmares.

"We get high anxiety levels, hyper vigilance and she (Jessie) takes my mind off anything that's going on in my surroundings."

LIFESAVER: Leonard Bigler credits his staffy Jessie with helping him to deal with PTSD.
LIFESAVER: Leonard Bigler credits his staffy Jessie with helping him to deal with PTSD. Scott Sawyer

He credited Jessie's healing powers with helping him get out and about again as he tried to retrain his brain.

"Six months ago I wouldn't have done this," he said. He was speaking to the Daily after meeting DIGGERS Military Motorcycle Club members and Buderim MP Steve Dickson at Cotton Tree to celebrate the fundraising efforts of locals who raised $2500 to fund another PTSD dog through the Young Diggers Dog Squad.

Young Diggers national marketing manager Leanne Kyle said it was vital that funding continued to flow for the cause, which she said had huge benefits for returned servicemen and women dealing with PTSD issues.

Topics:  diggers dog ptsd soldier


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