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Medric Cousineau dedicated his life to protecting the lives of others through his role as a Captain for the Canadian Forces. He never thought that one day, a Yellow Lab would do the same for him.
In 1986, Medric was part of a high-stakes rescue mission at sea. The experience was incredibly traumatic, and led to his release from the service. He was awarded the Star of Courage for his work that day.
In the following years, Medric became reclusive and on edge. His family life suffered and he was tormented by flashbacks and night terrors. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) took over his life.
Medric says his life was changed in 2012 when he met Thai. Thai is a PTSD service dog, specially trained to sense and react to her partner’s triggers and physiology to prevent anxiety attacks, stop night terrors, soothe nerves, divert attention, and encourage him to utilize coping mechanisms. She is a companion that provides help without judgment or expectation.
When Medric realized the impact of his relationship with Thai, he knew that he had to provide the same to others living with PTSD. He began the organization ‘Paws Fur Thought,’ and quickly began matching service dogs with military personnel and veterans in need.
These people tell Medric that their dogs, too, have literally saved their lives. Statistics show that 0% of impacted persons partnered with a PTSD service dog have lost their lives by suicide.
As word of his organization spread, Medric began receiving countless letters asking for help from non-military personnel first responders; EHS, RCMP, Regional Police, Firefighters, and more. A new partnership with the Mental Health Foundation is allowing Medric to make these matches happen.
The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia launched the program at the 2014 Compass Group Canada Festival of Trees’ IMP Group Gala Night by sharing Medric’s story and calling out for donations to support matching- one match can be made for $3,500. The crowd responded with incredible compassion and generosity.
You can watch the full video here:
Twenty-three matches were made at the event that night, and we aren’t finished yet! Thanks to Medric and his continued bravery and activism, the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia is proudly funding service dog matching for first responders.
First responders are the people who run in, while we’re running out. We ask them to put their lives on the line every day – and in doing so, they also put their mental health on the line.