PTSD service dog meets family of firefighter who took his own life

A service dog named in memory of an Edmonton firefighter and former draft pick for the Edmonton Oilers was given a hero's welcome on Sunday.

See Full Article

Bolt is a post-traumatic stress disorder service dog. Dogs like Bolt are trained to help first responders overcome trauma. The volunteer organization United By Trauma provides the dogs to emergency workers affected by PTSD.

Bolt is still in training, but will soon be ready for work, the organization's co-founder, Nicole Taylor, told CTV Edmonton.

On Sunday, Bolt was welcomed to the city by the family of Brad Symes. Symes, a former Edmonton firefighter and draft pick for the Oilers, took his own life after struggling with PTSD.

His father, Stan Symes, was ecstatic to meet Bolt, who was named after the main cartoon canine in the 2008 Disney film "Bolt." Brad Symes often watched the film with his two sons, family members say.

"I can't tell you how I feel right now," Stan Symes said as he hugged the dog on Sunday, and then gave him a scratch behind his ears.

Stan Symes, who worked as a fire chief before retiring, said it's critically important that first responders seek help to cope with their experiences on the job.

"If they have a traumatic incident, they have to sit down and talk about it," he said. "They can't hold it in, and if they hold it in, they have to seek help… it may not affect them right yet, but down the road it will."

United By Trauma says requests for PTSD service dogs come from all over the country, and sometimes they receive as many as 10 requests per week.

"It's heart-wrenching, but the need is there. And that's what keeps us going with that need and drive and passion to help out other first responders," co-founder Taylor said.

Stan Symes says the organization is providing a valuable service to emergency workers in need.

"What they're doing here is just beyond words, it's incredible," he said. "Finally, somebody has recognized mental health problems in first responders, and they're actually doing something about it."

With a report from CTV Edmonton’s Amanda Anderson



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Blood clinics overflowing with donations in wake of attacks in Spain

    World News CBC News
    Many in Barcelona feeling the strain and helplessness born of this week's attacks will tell you there is but one place in town guaranteed to help you feel a little better. Just a little less impotent. Source
  • Dashcam footage shows cop punching black man during stop in Cleveland suburb [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    CLEVELAND — A dashcam video of a traffic stop that led to a white police officer with a history of disciplinary issues repeatedly punching a black man and hitting his head on pavement appears to show a different sequence of events than police had originally described. Source
  • New York subway officials to alter Confederate Flag-like tiles at Time Square station

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Transit officials have decided to alter subway station tiles that have a cross-like design similar to that of the Confederate flag. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is modifying the tiles at the 40th Street entrance to the Times Square subway stop to avoid any confusion about their meaning, MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said in a statement. Source
  • Dieppe: Veterans return to site of Canada’s deadliest day in WWII

    Canada News CTV News
    More than 900 Canadian soldiers were killed in the French coastal town of Dieppe on August 19, 1942, the bloodiest day for Canada in the entirety of the Second World War. Saturday will mark the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid. Source
  • Steve Bannon 'going to war' at Breitbart after Trump ousts White House Chief Strategist [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — Steve Bannon, a forceful but divisive presence in President Donald Trump’s White House, is leaving. Trump accepted Bannon’s resignation on Friday, ending a turbulent seven months for his chief strategist, the latest to depart from the president’s administration in turmoil. Source
  • John McCain completes round of radiation, chemo for brain cancer

    World News CTV News
    PHOENIX -- The daughter of U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona says the 80-year-old lawmaker has completed the first round of radiation and chemotherapy as he battles an aggressive form of brain cancer. Meghan McCain also tweeted Friday afternoon that her father's "resilience & strength is incredible. Source
  • U.S. denies Alberta man's request to visit sick mom with brain tumour

    Canada News CTV News
    A Canadian permanent resident is hoping for a miracle after the United States rejected his request to visit his ailing mother, who is suffering from a brain tumour. Alan Arellano grew up in San Diego, where his mother Theresa still lives. Source
  • Lucky loon sought out Alberta campers to save it from fishing gear

    Canada News CTV News
    NORDEGG, Alta. -- This is a story about one lucky loon. Don Gibson was standing with his family on a dock in Fish Lake Provincial Park in west-central Alberta last weekend when he noticed a normally standoffish loon -- one of a group of five that call the lake home -- swimming toward them. Source
  • Photographer faces $185M lawsuit over photos of underage ballet dancers

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    They were aspiring ballet dancers who travelled from Toronto and cities across Canada to realize their dreams at the renowned Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. But in a proposed $185 million class action lawsuit filed by Sarah Doucet of Toronto on behalf of her fellow underage students, she alleges they were coerced into posing for lurid photos by teacher Bruce Monk who then sold their images online without their knowledge or consent. Source
  • Canadian killed in Barcelona terror attack identified as PM confirms four others injured

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has confirmed one Canadian was killed and four others were hurt Thursday when a van plowed into crowds of tourists on a popular street in Barcelona. Trudeau is offering his condolences to the family members and friends of those injured. Source