Restoring Hope

His courage deserves our support.

I am sure you know that sometimes life can be stressful, and full of challenges. Problems shared are often easier to resolve.  Sam had a problem.  He has PTSD.  It interrupted his life.

He took a while to recognise why he felt the way he did. He found help however, and that help has led him to the RSB.

“I struggled for many years after leaving the army. Like many soldiers I found it hard to share my emotions, or to recognise where they came from. I often hid behind alcohol to mask my feelings and to numb my thinking.”

Sam joined the military not long after leaving school and spent nearly 10 years defending Australia, undertaking various deployments in active combat zones.  His service came at a huge price.

“I was someone who was prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice so that Australians could continue to live like Australian’s do. My deployments were tough, we were on the front lines.” 

Changing Mindset

Sam tragically lost his eldest brother in combat.  He and his younger brother also served.  Like many other soldiers they saw things their memory could not forget.

“I was someone who was prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice so that Australians could continue to live like Australian’s do. My deployments were tough, we were on the front lines.”

Sam’s younger brother replaced him after one deployment.  Waiting, alone, for his brother to come home was an incredibly intense and anxious time for Sam.  What if he were left alone?  How would he live without both of his brothers?  This time took Sam into some dark places.

Sam sought help. He was given a book to read, one that changed his life.  It changed his mindset.

Soon after, Sam found RSB and learned about RSB OPK9.

RSB OPK9 Assistance dogs are truly life changing companions.  They provide a level of support for people like Sam to restore hope and purpose to their lives.  They restore confidence and quality of life.  They become members of the family.  They create opportunities and hope. Your donation of will help ensure we can continue to provide assistance dogs to transform veterans’ lives.

“I learned about the RSB OPK9 program. I met the dogs. I met the trainers. I kind of knew it was for me. Really, the time and care they offered me, in the matching and working with the dog was just incredible.”

“Just having her there grounds me and enables me to focus on the work”

Meeting Xena

RSB OPK9 is a service available to veterans’ experiencing PTSD, like Sam.  RSB breeds and trains these dogs to support the individual needs of the veteran.  It is a time consuming and careful process, supporting the dogs to understand their new partners’ needs.

“The moment I met Xena I knew she and I would become partners. She seemed to pick up my mood and sense, and just knew me. It was just instant.”

It costs more than $50,000 to breed, raise and train an RSB OPK9 dog like Xena – and there is a constant need for us to provide more dogs. Your generous donation to RSB will assist us to continue providing this lifechanging service.

Having Xena in his life has had a massive positive impact on Sam.

He is now able to enjoy the little things in life, to go out and share a social experience with mates, and to enjoy quiet time.

“I always had a sort of negative perspective about people, but Xena has changed all that. I can find ways to see things differently and be more engaged in life. It has turned my life around 180 degrees.”

Restoring Hope

Sam is now studying medicine.  He wants to be a podiatric surgeon.

He is deservedly proud of his achievement to not only get to attend University, but also to be doing so well, and to now have his ambitions within reach.

Sam, RSB, and the University worked together to make sure that Xena could be part of Sam’s academic life.  The care displayed by RSB in supporting Sam to allow Xena to attend University was a critical part of the journey for him.

“Xena and I go to the park often. She runs and runs and runs. When I go to Uni, and sit exams, we make sure we get plenty of exercise so she can rest for the 3-hour exams I have. Just having her there grounds me and enables me to focus on the work.”

I am sure you can understand how much this means for Sam, so as you would appreciate, nothing can prepare any of us for a life lived in darkness of mental illness. For 137 years, the RSB has supported people who can’t see, to live full and fruitful lives, and for the last 8 years, supported those who have often seen too much. Your donation will ensure this crucial work continues, and RSB OPK9 can continue to provide real support for our veteran community.

With your help, and the support from RSB and Xena, Sam and others like him will continue to give to our community.

Giving Back

Like you, Sam wants to help other people.  To give back.  He has always found it hard to engage with people and enjoy company, but with the support of people like you and the RSB OPK9 team, Sam has been able to regain his purpose and ambition to help others and set goals for himself that have restored his self-confidence.

“I want to be able to give back. Having that in my future excites me. The chance to support other people is just what I want to do. Like the people who donate to RSB OPK9 – I just want to say thank you and repay the opportunities the RSB OPK9 program has given me.”

You can also donate by calling us on 1800 644 577 or click here.

On behalf of everyone at the RSB, thank you for your support.

Xena has been supported by the DVA Psychiatric Assistance Dog program.