Four years ago Chris Buswell and his wife Karla received the devastating news that their 22-year-old son had died suddenly.
The grief of losing their son sparked post traumatic stress disorder in Chris from his military service overseas.
Soon he was in a downward spiral, struggling with poor mental health.
However in May last year, his GP advised him to contact veteran charity Bravehound and soon a young Golden Retriever named Lyn came bounding into his life.
“Having Lyn has brought back fun and enjoyment into life, whereas before we were just living day to day,” Chris explains.
“Now I can look towards the future.”
Lyn brings comfort to Chris but she has also been trained to look after him.
If she senses Chris is anxious she’ll give him a hug and she is also trained to take him away from overwhelming situations.
“She gives some amazing cuddles and she’s brought laughter again, which is really nice,” Chris says.
“I know that if I didn’t have her, I’d be in a really bad place mentally.
“Lyn’s probably the best therapy I can have.”
Fiona MacDonald, founder of Bravehound, says their animals are trained to do a number of things but most importantly offer companionship.
“Our dogs are all very beautiful dogs and some of them are trained to do specific things like go and get medication, we have a wheelchair user and her dog will pick up anything she’s dropped.
“For all of [our users], it’s the companionship, it’s having a living being with you all the time and having to go out and about and being able to go out and about because you’ve got that confidence in having your dog with you.”
Chris and Lyn are now inseparable and he even jokes she is the main woman in his life now.
“My wife calls her the mistress and we call my wife the other woman,” Chris laughs.
“She’s the main woman in my life!”
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