A FORMER Scots soldier has told how his new rescue dog helped him cope with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Barry Seymour, from North Ayrshire, was left traumatised after his battalion was targeted with an explosive device which failed to go off.

In the months that followed, Barry had recurring nightmares surrounding the incident as well as traumatic flashbacks, and became unable to cope mentally with what had happened.

Evening Times:

Best pals Barry and Buddy

The 35-year-old said: “Although the device never went off, my mind was unable to escape the fact that I could have died. The flashbacks and nightmares became so intrusive, that I really struggled to cope and had to leave the military.

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“I was offered counselling for PTSD but at that time I don’t think I was ready to begin dealing with everything that had happened. For a while I was really lost and struggled to cope.

“On top of this, my dad sadly passed away and the grief caused me to become depressed. Thankfully my family has been a strong support network . I also started counselling and began building my life again.”

Evening Times:

But it wasn’t until Barry found Buddy, a beagle at Dogs Trust Glasgow’s rescue centre, his life really began to to improve and now to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, he’s encouraging others to do the same.

He said: “I wanted to adopt a rescue dog because many of them don’t have the best start in life, and deserve another chance to fulfil their potential, just like I did.

“Having him in my life has really helped my recovery because Buddy has forced me out of my comfort zone, made me more sociable when out for walks, and provided me with a healthy routine, which includes the rewards of owning a pet as well as staying physically active.

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Evening Times:

“Our mental health is just as important as our physical health, which is why everyone needs positive influences in their life, and I’m lucky that Buddy is one of mine.”

If you want to rehome a dog, contact Dogs Trust Glasgow on 0300 303 0292.