The Duke of Edinburgh Lodge No 1259 Supports service dogs UK
Report by W Bro Richard Cavanagh
Members of the Duke of Edinburgh Lodge No 1259, consecrated in 1869, take immense pride in belonging to a Lodge with such a distinguished name. They, wished to honour the memory of the most recent Duke of Edinburgh, who passed to the Grand Lodge Above on 9th April 2021.
In addition to supporting the Memorial Fund set up to honour the memory of HRH, The Duke of Edinburgh Lodge members also decided to mark their respect by supporting another charity, namely the excellent Service Dogs UK.
Service Dogs UK provides Veterans from the Armed Services and Emergency Services suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with specially trained dogs to help them cope, with no cost to the beneficiaries for the entire training programme. The charity aims to give back some of the commitment these Veterans and Emergency Services personnel have given to our society through their own service, as well as giving rescue dogs a second chance too. In doing so, they also want to remove the stigma surrounding PTSD together with the stigma in relation to rescue dogs.
Service Dogs UK is a member of Assistance Dogs UK and is the only Assisted Dogs International accredited PTSD provider in the UK. As such, its standards are of the highest level. Dogs are carefully selected from rescue centres before being partnered with Veterans, who are then taught how to train and look after their dogs by the charity’s professional dog trainers. It takes between 9-12 months of training for each dog and its partnered Veteran.
In support of Service Dogs UK, the Duke of Edinburgh Lodge raised £1,500 to sponsor a five-month-old cocker spaniel who, perhaps not surprisingly, has been named “Duke”. In addition to their donation, the Lodge has also agreed to meet any veterinary bills for Duke for the next five years.
In early August, representatives from the Duke of Edinburgh Lodge visited Northchapel Village Hall near Petworth, West Sussex, to meet Duke and his trainers at Service Dogs UK and to formally present a cheque for £1,500. Duke is at present in training for his valuable role, and the Lodge is being updated on his progress by trainer Dave Tipping.
“I wouldn’t be here without my dog.”
Service Dogs UK also raises awareness of PTSD as a significant danger to Veterans and others through their activities and educational programmes, as well as continually researching and developing ways of improving the lives of injured service people through interaction with dogs and the therapeutic benefits derived. By having a dog, Veterans become more patient, displaying better impulse control and emotional regulation. This also leads to decreased depression and stress and increased positive senses of purpose, calm and belonging.
“It’s allowed me to live again.”
Beneficiaries of the programme report a number of key benefits, including better sleep, improvements with zoning out, nightmares, flashbacks, panic or anxiety attacks; ability to make small talk, relax, self-motivate, push themselves to do things, get out of the house and facing the world; improved self-confidence and also confidence with others; improved anger management; improved relationships; and recognising self-achievement.
“Getting out a little more, having a purpose, speaking and talking with new people and every now and then mingling with the public”
Any Lodge wishing to consider supporting this worthwhile cause should contact email@example.com or www.servicedogsuk.org. Alternatively, please contact the Lodge via the number shown on their website www.dukeofedinburghlodge.org.uk
Photo: Duke, wearing his Masonic-coloured harness, with W Bro Andy Edwards (Charity Steward) and W Bro John Fetterroll presenting the cheque to Dave Tipping and Jan Hoare of Service Dogs UK.
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 50 December 2022 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 50 here.