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

  • Girl, 4, shoots self while grabbing candy in grandma's purse

    World News CTV News
    TAMPA, Fla. - A 4-year-old Florida girl has died after accidentally pulling the trigger of a gun when she reached into her grandmother's purse for candy. Yanelly "Nelly" Zoller died Sept. 14 at the Tampa home of her grandparents, Michael and Christie Zoller. Source
  • Driver gets 2 photo radar speeding tickets, 10 seconds apart

    Canada News CTV News
    A Calgary woman is heading to court over two speeding tickets she received in the span of 10 seconds from two different photo radar cameras located only 250 metres apart in west Edmonton. Susan McNab told CTV News that she was travelling north on 170 Street at 100 Avenue four months ago when a photo radar camera recorded her driving 74 km/h in a 60 km/h zone. Source
  • Canada-EU trade enters new era of openness as CETA comes into force

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — Canadian companies have much greater access to one of the world’s largest markets starting Thursday, as a major trade deal between Canada and the European Union enters into force. Known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, the deal clears barriers to trade for Canada’s largest trading partner after the United States. Source
  • 'It has hurt us emotionally': Young couple moving to B.C. loses everything after U-Haul theft

    Canada News CTV News
    Newlyweds moving from New Brunswick to Vancouver are starting their life in their new province without any of their possessions after the U-Haul carrying their belongings was stolen from a parking lot. Nathan Drover and his wife, Sabrina Perry-Drover, had packed up everything they own onto a moving truck. Source
  • Iran's top leader dismisses Trump's 'ugly, foolish' remarks

    World News CTV News
    TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's supreme leader says U.S. President Donald Trump's "cheap, ugly, foolish and unreal" remarks before the UN General Assembly earlier this week were a sign of desperation. In his debut address to the UN on Tuesday, Trump called Iran a "corrupt dictatorship" and a "murderous regime," and said the landmark nuclear agreement Tehran reached with the U.S. Source
  • Jimmy Kimmel calls Brian Kilmeade a 'phoney little creep' as GOP health care bill battle continues

    World News Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — Jimmy Kimmel used his late-night platform to continue his assault on the GOP health care bill, firing back at critics including U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy and “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade. The ABC star on Wednesday was following up on his monologue from Tuesday, when he said the bill Cassidy is co-sponsoring in failed the “Jimmy Kimmel test,” a phrase Cassidy coined in May after Kimmel announced his newborn son underwent heart surgery for a birth defect. Source
  • Satellite images show sprawling Rohingya refugee camps

    World News CTV News
    Massive, makeshift refugee camps are sprawling over farms and open land in southern Bangladesh as more than 420,000 Rohingya Muslims flee violent attacks in their predominantly Buddhist homeland of Myanmar. In a matter of weeks, thousands of temporary shelters have been erected in the Bangladesh district of Cox's Bazar, according to new before-and-after satellite images released exclusively to The Associated Press on Wednesday. Source
  • Government policies making it difficult for MMIW inquiry to do its work

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- The head of the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada says government bureaucracy is smothering the inquiry's ability to do its work on time. Marion Buller, the chief commissioner of the troubled inquiry, made the comments while speaking at a Senate committee about the committee's work Wednesday evening in Ottawa. Source
  • Nuclear warheads still building up in 4 countries: watchdog

    World News CTV News
    COPENHAGEN -- The global number of nuclear warheads dropped last year, but it seems China, India, North Korea and Pakistan are expanding the size of their atomic arsenals, a Swedish arms watchdog said Thursday. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says developments in North Korea's nuclear program "contributed to international political instability with potentially serious knock-on effects. Source
  • Fast-food restaurants closing as Quebec unemployment rate nears all-time low

    Canada News CBC News
    With the Quebec unemployment at its lowest rate in decades, Quebec's fast-food industry is struggling to find staff — with some reducing their hours and others being forced to shut their doors altogether. The latest casualty is a KFC restaurant in Lévis, Que. Source