OTTAWA, ON, SEPTEMBER 19TH, 2013 – As Medric Cousineau, a retired Royal Canadian Air Force Captain, and his service dog Thai walk into Ottawa this week they are completing their 50-day march, thanks in large part to Legion members and their branches. Medric and Thai are completing the Long Walk to Sanity project which seeks to raise awareness about the benefits of service dogs for Veterans coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. More than $30,000 has been raised in support of the walk to date.
“This walk could never have happened without the open doors of the Legion branches we visited and the open hearts of the Legion members who came out to see Thai and myself as we made our way to Ottawa,” says Cousineau. “Thai has made a significant difference in my life and with our walk we hope to make a difference in the lives of 50 other Veterans who will benefit from a service dog,” adds Cousineau. The goal of their walk is to be able to provide 50 dogs to 50 Veterans in need.
“Mr. Cousineau’s walk from Halifax to Ottawa is a tribute to his determination to do whatever it takes to raise awareness and help Veterans suffering from PTSD, and I am pleased to see Legion branches supporting him with their hearts and responding generously with their financial support,” says Dominion President Gordon Moore. “This is yet another example of the leadership role the Legion, our 1468 branches and the more than 320,000 members play in supporting Veterans every single day.
The Royal Canadian Legion understands the benefits of animal assisted therapy and has already been supporting equine programs, such as the Soldier On Saddle Up initiative, while exploring options for canine therapy. “By participating in the Canadian Military Assistance Dog Summit on 21 September at the Canadian War Museum, the Legion will gather information to assist in the development of policies that will enable the organization to continue to support these programs that really help our injured Veterans and their families,” says Moore.