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THE unique relationship between an RAF veteran living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and his supportive dog, has been nominated for an award – and they need your votes to win!
Dale McGleenon and his dog, Leffe, have been named as one of three finalists in the Animal Partnership Award category at the Soldiering On Awards – an awards ceremony that recognises the outstanding achievements of those who have served their country.
Dale has been praised for his work raising awareness about PTSD and wellbeing, whilst French bulldog Leffe has been recognised for the support he has given Dale to overcome his fears.
About their nomination, Dale said, “There are two constants in my life now, even during my darkest moments, my amazing wife Colleen who has supported me and stuck with me throughout, she is truly my rock.
“And the second is my wee man Leffe, or as I call him, my pebble. He has a sixth sense for when I am in crisis, and he always appears by my side. He’s been there for me when my wife has been unable to be there and there are times when I think he has probably saved me from spiralling into a very much darker place.
“They say that a man’s best friend is his dog, and nothing is closer to the truth when it comes to him. Thank you for judging him as a finalist for this award, but he is already a winner to me.”
Dale was medically discharged from the RAF Police last year, and was diagnosed with severe and chronic PTSD, which was caused by his work investigating “criminal web browsing”.
As a result, Dale began to mistrust people and became housebound unless he was accompanied outside by his wife, Colleen. But when Colleen suggested that he get a dog, his life began to change.
“Leffe has helped to overcome Dale’s fear of going out and, as they walk together, Dale talks about his traumas,” said the pair’s nomination, “It’s impossible for Dale to open up in this way with other people, as he feels he would be harming the person he was speaking to. Leffe, however, is a willing listener.
“These walks gave Dale the idea to start recording videos, which are now on his YouTube channel: PTSD Warrior & His Dog Leffe. The channel educates people about online child safety, PTSD and wellbeing, and Dale hopes it will help others.
“Dale’s experiences were extremely traumatic and negative but he has found positivity in speaking out, continuing the conversation and removing the stigma that is unfairly attached to mental health issues. Leffe has had a massive influence on his ability to do this, hopefully meaning that others can learn from his experience and seek help earlier, enabling them to have a better chance of recovery.
“Leffe knows when Dale is upset, having a flashback or becoming angry. The Frenchie will place a paw on Dale’s arm or sit with him companionably. Although he is not a trained support dog, he knows that he is helping with his special ability to wash aside sadness, anxiety, stress and anger.
“Without Leffe, Dale would probably spend many more days in bed, not interacting with anyone and rarely leaving the house. Instead, he looks forward to spending time outdoors together. Leffe is Dale’s pebble and wingman as they move forward in their journey to battle PTSD.”
The winner of the award will be decided by a public vote – and voting is open now until 8pm, this Sunday 5th September.
For more information about the awards, and to vote for Dale and Leffe, visit the website: www.soldieringon.org/2021-animal-partnership-award-finalists/