An interview with return serviceman Jamie Tanner
In commemoration of those who have served for us and will serve for us we have interviewed ex-serviceman Jamie and asked a few questions about his time and his amazing service dog Tink.
Can you tell me a bit about your service?
I Joined the Army in January 2001 when I was 17. I went off to Kapooka in Wagga Wagga to complete my recruit training followed by my Infantry training at the school of infantry in Singleton. I was then posted to 6RAR in Brisbane. In 2002 I deployed to Malaysia for three months. I then deployed to East Timor in 2004, Iraq in 2006, Afghanistan in 2007 and 2010. By October 2011 my service has caught up with me. My body had broken down, and I had started to have problems with my mental health to a point where I could no longer serve and was subsequently medically discharged.
How has your life changed since getting Tinkerbelle?
We’d thought that I might benefit from having a service dog to support me and started to look into options available and how to go about it. We got Tink as an 8-week old pup and decided that we would go through the training as a pair (Tink and I). That was one of the best decisions I could have ever made. Before Tink, I couldn’t even go to the shops or out to dinner. Once we began going out to public places together, I began to do more and started to socialise more. I’ve now got to a point where I don’t always need Tink to come with me. She has changed my life and changed the lives of our family by helping me. She picks up when I’m having nightmares and wakes me up with kisses or sometimes will lay on my chest, so it’s just enough to bring me out of a dream without completely waking me up.
How important is Tinkerbelle to you and why?
Tink is just as important to me as my wife and kids. She has been and continued to be something in my life that helps me get through each day. Whether it’s going out or just hanging out at home, she has this amazing ability to pick up on my mood and do things to change me from a dark place to a good spot.
Do you think you would be where you are today without Tinkerbelle?
Without Tink there is no way I’d be where I am today.
In your day to day life how does Tinkerbelle help?
She’s able to pick up on my anxiety and do things to take my focus away and change my train of thought. It’s not just me that she does this for. I have numerous friends who she has done the same thing for when they are stressing out about something. Mark Slater, your CEO is one of the people who has been on the receiving end of her abilities.