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On Tuesday the 11th August Club Meeting- Marg introduced us to Damien and his Assistance Dog Maxx.

Maxx is 4yr old Labrador, who was rescued at 6mths of age by the Defense Community Dog Program (www.dcdogs.com.au). Damien is ex-Army of 25yrs who needed support to his physical and emotional wellbeing since his discharge from the service. Maxx became his saving grace 3 yrs ago as his Assistant Dog! A position very similar to Guide Dogs – which Damien has also work with via the Royal Society of the Blind (RSB).
Damien went on eight deployments while in the Australian Army. Damien has been a body guard to the Commander in Chief; been deployed East Timor; he has built & destroyed bridges as an engineer; and worked in the military police. A wide range of duties in his distinguished career.
All DC Dogs are rescues, Max himself was very mistreated before he was saved. Maxx had 200 hours of formal training at Bathurst Prison. All the dogs live with the inmates while training to be an Assistance Dog. It cost $15,000 to train a DC Dog and when a dog is placed with a suitable person they are set for life! Maxx showed us how dedicated these dogs are to their charges by being very protective and intuitive to their emotional needs.
When Maxx has his work coat on he is in full Assistance Dog mode but when the coat is off he switches off and is a dog to Damien and his family!
It was an amazing night and an inspiration story to hear. Maxx is one of 2 dogs from DC Dogs in South Australia and they hoping to expand the program more to improve veterans lives.
The Defence Community Dog program provides dogs trained to Assistance Dog level, to serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force members who need support to deal with injuries and illnesses including
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Since the program commenced, over 45
dogs have been given to Veterans and are proving to be a valuable part of their rehabilitation program.