Coming Home – featuring Afghanistan veteran Anthony Jones (Melzer, 2014)
Afghanistan veteran Anthony Jones (6 RAR) did not accept his diagnosis of PTSD when he was initially identified as having the condition. He could not see the difference between himself and the other boys in his regiment. After counseling and professional medical treatment, Anthony now recognises his behaviors; anxiety, short attention span and aggression were symptoms of PTSD. Anthony struggled with the loss of his burgeoning military career and with the symptoms of PTSD. He discovered a veteran support group, Young Diggers and the Dog Squad program initiated by Malaya and Vietnam veteran John Jarrett. When John Jarrett returned from his tour of Vietnam, there was no support or support groups.
John founded the veteran support group Young Diggers and initiated dog therapy programs, which include ‘Dogs for Diggers’. The ‘Dogs for Diggers’ program is run through the Bathurst Correctional Centre where the dogs are trained with professional dog trainers and selected inmates for a six-month period and then handed over to veterans with PTSD. John arranged for a dog that had been trained at the Bathurst Correctional Centre to assist Anthony Jones. Anthony’s story is one of hope. It is a positive story that reflects the true meaning of a ‘dog being man’s best friend’.