By Shelby Brooks
BENA man Andrew Buck has started a GoFundMe campaign to fund a replacement therapy dog, after his dog Shaddow was deemed too old to work.
Andrew had his dog Shaddow, an Irish Wolfhound cross Staffy, become a fully accredited service dog two years ago through the charity Miracle Assistant Dogs (MAD) and said his life has dramatically improved.
Fifteen years of service in the SES left Andrew with severe PTSD and he was struggling to function in everyday life.
“Each job got tougher and tougher until I got to the point where I couldn’t do it anymore,” Andrew said.
Shaddow had been Andrew’s rescue dog for a few years when she started picking up on Andrew’s moods.
“She was waking me up from nightmares,” he said.
“She was already doing what service dogs are trained to do.”
Through MAD, Shaddow was trained to become Andrew’s service dog and could go anywhere he went.
“She goes everywhere I go, on a plane, in an ambulance,” Andrew said.
“If I feel confused coming out of a supermarket, I can ask her ‘Where’s the car?’ and she’ll take me there.
“She can sense something before it happens – she won’t leave me alone and that’s when I know something is about to happen with me.”
Unfortunately, Shaddow is now 77 in human years, and is too old to pass the Public Access Test which she is required to sit in 2021.
“It breaks my heart I’ll have to replace her,” Andrew said.
But Shaddow will stay with Andrew as his beloved pet.
He now needs $25,000 to buy a fully trained dog to be Shaddow’s replacement therapy dog.
“I feel I’m running out of time,” Andrew said.
It takes two years for a dog to be fully trained, so Andrew is worried he will be without a therapy dog for some time.
“People don’t understand what it will be like for me to be without a therapy dog,” he said.
“I won’t be able to do anything. I look at Shaddow as someone who was immobile would look at their wheelchair.
“My quality of life depends on getting a new dog.”
If you can donate, head to gofundme.com/f/shaddows-replacement.