ENGLISH NEWS: Army veteran with PTSD support dog asked to leave restaurant in England

LIFELINE: Ziggy the Labrador provides support to his army veteran owner. Credit: @AssistanceZiggy.

AN army veteran has been left shaken after employees at an Indian restaurant in London, England, asked him to leave because he was with his PTSD support dog.

Despite explaining why he needs his Labrador with him, 38-year-old Richard Mearns was told that no animals were allowed inside of the establishment.

Speaking to the Metro, Richard explained that after he and a friend were turned away, his stress levels went through the roof and that it ruined his night.  

Mearns, who served as an armed forces medic, believes that he was essentially discriminated against because of his condition, as his dog acts as a support line for him when he is feeling anxious. The dog, who is named Ziggy, was wearing a harness at the time which clearly indicated that he was a working dog, but that still did not change the restaurant’s mind.

Mearns was diagnosed with PTSD in 2009 and was introduced to Ziggy by the Veterans with Dogs charity. He now talks openly about his condition and his journey to recovery through delivering motivational talks across the country, and believes that it wasn’t for his dog, that he he wouldn’t be able to carry on working in the capital. 

Ziggy not only gives Mearns medication reminders, but also calms him down when he has flashbacks or is feeling distressed.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the brains response to a traumatic experience, where assistance dogs can help lessen the trauma associated with triggering events and going out in public. 

According to Service Dogs UK, people who have been diagnosed with PTSD often feel very isolated, depressed and can struggle with daily life, relationships and the world. Dogs are able to overcome emotional numbness, where veterans can develop new ways to communicate and deal with symptoms such as anger or paranoia.

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Written by

Isha Sesay

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