2019 Round 3 Top 6 Finalist

PTSD Dogs Australia

'Paws of Sunshine' program rescues and trains shelter dogs to help emergency and Defence Force personnel living with PTSD.

PTSD Dogs Australia is dedicated to rescuing, re-training and re-homing suitable displaced or unwanted dogs from pounds, shelters and rescue groups.

These dogs are trained to unleash their full potential as a life enhancing Service Dog, with our Australian Defence Force and first responders diagnosed and living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Our new initiative Animal Assisted Smiles Program trains rescue dogs, who were unsuitable to be PTSD Service Dogs to become Emotional Support AmbassaDogs to visit local emergency service centres, RSL clubs, medical centres and aged care facilities to educate and address mental health, loneliness and PTSD. These dogs use their empathetic nature to bring sunshine into peoples' darkness.


We help improve the lives of Australian first responders - police officers, fire fighters, paramedics and ex-military personnel - who through their work environments have developed PTSD.

PTSD Dogs Australia specifically focus on providing trained Service Dogs to current and past Defence and Emergency Services personnel at no cost. We target our training specifically for PTSD, which hones into the individual Handler’s particular symptoms and triggers for their dog to recognise and act accordingly.

Since May 2018, through our Service Dogs and AmbassaDogs, we have helped 13 families and their Service Dogs in training, given 8 shelter dogs a second chance, contributed to 3 people being removed from suicide watch, helped bring 1 family back together again and contributed to 4 people reportedly halving their medication needs and see 1 person gain more confidence to get behind the wheel again, after ten years of not driving.

We have also visited several RSL Clubs, Aged Care facilities, and a number of Fire and Ambulance stations with a resultant positive impact and further requests for the service.


A Sunsuper ‘Dreams for a Better World’ grant will help us rescue more shelter dogs, cover vet checks and vaccinations and begin training as a PTSD Service Dog or an AmbassaDog.

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