Jesse lends a paw
Arriving at the Soldier Recovery Centre – Brisbane last month, Jesse has made her presence known in a short time, already making an impact on soldiers’ recoveries.
Physical Training Instructor Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2) Kellie Butler said Jesse was a perfect match for the centre, full of energy and spending plenty of time with the soldiers.
“We’ve already noticed some soldiers who may not normally leave the building for whatever reasons have no problem if they’re taking Jesse for a walk,” she said.
“She is just a lovely and obedient dog and very suited to being here.”
Although Jesse will be used as a therapy dog at the centre, she is also in training to be an assistance dog, which will allow her to offer more help to some soldiers but also allow her to attend events outside the base where animals are not normally allowed.
Sapper Mitch Stone has been at the centre for a back injury sustained in 2012 while deployed with Mentoring Task Force - Four. He knows first-hand the importance of having a dog around.
“I’ve got a dog at home and when you’re having a bad day you can just forget about it all and have fun playing them,” he said.
“I come in and see some of the people here playing with Jesse and you think straight away that they have forgotten about their own worries for the moment and they’re just enjoying spending time with her.”
Jesse spends her days playing with the soldiers in between training sessions, but can also be seen taking part in physical training.
Her assistance training program will begin shortly and she will be required to meet certain training outcomes to qualify as a certified assistance dog.
She will be trained mostly by WO2 Butler, who also looks after her after hours, although there is long list of volunteers eager to help out.