Veterans’ dog fund on target

Letitia BusniakGeraldton Guardian

Returned service personnel in WA could be a step closer to receiving a service dog to help combat the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder thanks to the fundraising efforts of retired major Peter Checkley.

Mr Checkley has spent just over six months attempting to fundraise $25,000 for the Operation K9 project — the cost of training and providing one service dog to a WA veteran.

Over those six months Mr Checkley has fundraised throughout Geraldton and the Mid West to reach his total, a goal he finally achieved after handing over a cheque for $25,000 last week.

Mr Checkley, who has his own service dog, Ruby, after spending 45 years with the Australian Army and British Commandos, said he was humbled to be able to return the favour to a fellow veteran.

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“By raising $25,000 it will cover the total cost for a fully trained and accredited Assistance Dog,” he said.

“I feel blessed having had Ruby for the last two and a half years and she has saved me from those dark and horrific places I constantly found myself in.

“Those nightmares and fears were wasting me away to the extent I was seriously thinking of suicide.

“My life is now in a much better place. The funds that have been raised will help a WA veteran, who has seen too much, to have a better life.

“It will support them to get out of those dark places they find themselves through having combat related-PSTD.”

Mr Checkley thanked the Dongara IGA, the Rotary Club of Geraldton Greenough, both the Geraldton and Dongara RSLs, the Dongara Bowls Club, the Hampton Arms Inn, Dongara Hotel and Motel and the Mid West community for their support.

Mr Checkley and his wife Jenny will now attempt to fundraise the equivalent of another two service dogs.

“Funding one dog is not enough,” Mr Checkley said.

“Both Jenny and myself strongly feel that we need to pay back and get fully behind the OK9 program.”

Anyone wishing to donate can find out more from the RSL or email Mr Checkley directly on ok9assist@gmail.com

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