A Fife man is calling on the public to help save the life of the support dog that has been vital in helping him cope with post traumatic stress resulting from an abused childhood.
Kevin Nordby, who originates from Texas but now works for the University of St Andrews, said his dog – ‘Diggery’ – is living proof of the old saying that ‘a dog is a man’s best friend’.
He was paired with the dog in 2005 to help cope with the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which include panic attacks, anxiety, paranoia, nightmares and social isolation, which originate from, what Kevin describes as ,an “extremely abnormal and abusive childhood”,
Kevin faced years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his parents over many years.
But having broken away from his family, and as part of his recovery, Kevin took on the dog which helps sense when he is vulnerable or experiencing PTSD symptoms.
“Once I got Diggery there was an immediate improvement in my health and that has progressed and developed over the last 12 years as we grew to know each other,” Kevin explained.
“Having him here has given me the confidence to be able to do a whole host of things that most people would take for granted and he’s remained a sort of safety net throughout my ongoing recovery.”
Diggery and Kevin turned out to be perfect companions.
Loud noises and other extreme sensory experiences trigger Kevin’s PTSD, so Diggery comforts Kevin when he needs to recover from the sound of a passing train, blasting radio, or nearby car horn.
He helps him sleep at night, and gives Kevin something to live for during the periods of deep depression and suicidal tendencies.
But with the devastating news earlier this year of Diggery being diagnosed with lymphoma, a form of cancer, wife Stephanie told the Citizen the couple are desperate to give something back to the dog that has helped her husband come so far.
With benefits of owning a psychiatric service dogs not afforded the same recognition or rights as in America, the couple are desperate to do all they can to give Diggery the best chance of survival.
“Treatment is expected to cost between £8000 and £14,000, hence the appeal to the public to do anything they possibly can to help,” Stephanie explained.
“Diggery has had a tremendous impact on our lives, I don’t know what Kevin would do without him.”
With the dog having just completed his first chemotherapy treatment in Edinburgh the couple are now hoping the the public can help and have set up an online funding page. To donate go to www.gofundme.com/donatetodiggerydog