PET THERAPY: Ian Rawson with his best mate Charlie at the Laidley Day Club meeting.
PET THERAPY: Ian Rawson with his best mate Charlie at the Laidley Day Club meeting. Contributed

K9 helper laps up attention for the cause

LAIDLEY Day Club members were delighted to play host to Charlie, an assistance dog, and his owner Ian Rawson at the day club's recent meeting.

Although Mr Rawson, a Brassall resident and ex-RAAF airfield defence guard, was guest speaker at the event, it was Charlie who attracted all the attention.

Mr Rawson told of his service in the United States and Kuwait, and of an experience in 1993 that changed his life.

He said the experience had a profound effect on him until he met his special four-legged friend.

"I failed to obtain an entry visa into Kuwait," Mr Rawson said. "This was not a problem until I attempted to leave the country some time later.

"I was subjected to an intense interrogation that included a physical roughing-up and having firearms aimed at me.

"As a result, when I returned home I was diagnosed as suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and my life was going downhill until I was matched up with Charlie."

Mr Rawson described Charlie as a distraction tool. Officially an assistance dog, Charlie was trained at Bathurst Prison in NSW. He underwent seven months of training there by the inmates as part of their rehabilitation.

"Charlie is now my best mate and has turned my life around. He and I are about to embark on a program called K9 Helpers offered by a private dog training company," he said.

After the talk, Charlie mixed with club members and soaked up all the attention being offered.