Meet the humansbehind PTSD Dogs
Federal Member for Wide Bay
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives
Patron – PTSD Dogs Australia
PTSD Dogs Australia makes a remarkable difference to the lives of Veterans and First Responders with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a mental health condition that is prevalent among Veterans who have served our nation and First Responders who have served our community, and it can have long-lasting effects that continue to impact many parts of their daily lives.
From my former career with the Queensland Police Service, I know from my own experience and that of my friends and former colleagues just how important it is to acknowledge the condition and seek the right treatment for it.
The provision of a specially-trained PTSD Assistance Dog can make a profound difference to people with the condition by helping them to regain a sense of safety, engaging in the broader community, regaining physical and social function that may have been impaired by their PTSD, and improving their mental wellbeing by caring for an animal who also looks out for them.
As a relatively young organisation, PTSD Dogs Australia is doing an incredible job to support Veterans and First Responders, and has already provided more than a dozen assistance dogs to Veterans, free of charge, which make a significant positive difference to the mental wellbeing and health of the recipients and their families.
The dogs have also been used to visit elderly Veterans and First Responders with PTSD in hospitals and nursing homes, further increasing the reach of this valuable program.
I’m pleased to have been able to support the work of PTSD Dogs Australia and I commend the committee and all volunteers for their impressive work in the community.
We can all look forward to seeing PTSD Dogs Australia increase its impact and its reach as the organisation grows from strength to strength.
The following members of the PTSD Dogs Australia team are all unpaid volunteers without who we could not operate.
Angie Weeks serves as the passionate and driven leader. Her strategic acumen, empathetic leadership, and unwavering dedication have played pivotal roles in advancing the organisation’s mission and reach and led to her being recognised as 2023 Noosa Queensland Day Awards Recipient, CEO Of The Year (Australia) Global Excellence Awards 2023, CEO Monthly Magazine, Winner 2023 Prime Ministers’ National Veterans’ Employment Award – Partner Entrepreneur of the Year
Angie’s professional journey is marked by a myriad of experiences, with a significant background in counselling and human services. This has imparted her with a profound understanding of the multi-faceted challenges faced by individuals living with PTSD, making her a strong advocate for the therapeutic use of assistance dogs.
Her role as the CEO of PTSD Dogs Australia extends beyond mere responsibility; it is a personal mission for Angie. Having witnessed the devastating impact of PTSD, she is deeply committed to the cause of the organisation. She tirelessly works to raise awareness about the transformative benefits of assistance dogs, and relentlessly advocates for their increased accessibility.
In addition to her work with PTSD Dogs Australia, Angie is well-known for her proactive involvement in community initiatives. Her contributions to local causes highlight her commitment to service and her desire to bring about positive change in the lives of others.
Angie, has been an active volunteer, advocate and supporter in a number of personal interest areas including an underprivileged girls touch football team, where together with her husband, were known as “the positive people”. She is an Australia Zoo Wildlife Warrior, Supporter of The Orangutan Project, Wildlife Currumbin Sanctuary and more recently created Project Shelter which helped provide Food Shelter and Vet care for shelter dogs at Maryborough Animal Refuge.
As the CEO of PTSD Dogs Australia, Angie’s’ compassionate leadership, strategic vision, and relentless dedication make her an invaluable asset to the organisation and the community at large. Her continuous efforts bring hope, companionship, and a sense of comfort to those battling PTSD, profoundly impacting their lives for the better.
Co-Founder, Director, BSc (Psych)
Roger being one of the co-founders is an esteemed board member. His unwavering commitment, strategic vision, and empathetic nature have greatly amplified the organisation’s reach and impact.
Roger brings a wealth of experience and a unique skill set to his role at PTSD Dogs Australia. His diverse background has fostered a deep understanding of the many challenges faced by those living with PTSD, making him an effective advocate for the organization’s cause.
Having been diagnosed with both Complex PTSD and Major Depression, Roger understands what it is like to live with these debilitating conditions and the difficulties faced when a person with these conditions is trying to learn something new.
Drawing on the knowledge gained through his psychology degree along with his military service, Roger is able to liaise with our trainers to ensure our training program is well balanced and sensitive to the needs of our veterans ensuring the best outcomes for all concerned.
Roger considers his position as a board member as a calling. Having experienced the life-altering effects of PTSD, he is deeply committed to the organisation’s mission. His dedication to the cause is reflected in his relentless work to promote the therapeutic benefits of service dogs and to advocate for wider accessibility to these crucial companions.
In addition to his role with PTSD Dogs Australia, Roger is well-regarded for his community-centric ethos and leadership abilities. His notable contributions to various community initiatives underline his commitment to service and his drive to improve the lives of others.
Roger Weeks’ genuine compassion, combined with his dynamic leadership, makes him a cornerstone of PTSD Dogs Australia. His work continues to provide comfort and companionship to those grappling with PTSD, enriching their lives with hope and support.
Director / Chairperson
Ian sits as chairperson on the board of directors. His dedication, compassion, and strategic insight have contributed significantly to the organisation’s impact.
Coming from a diverse background, Ian brings a unique perspective to his role at PTSD Dogs Australia. His rich life experiences have instilled in him a deep understanding of the human psyche, a trait that has proven invaluable in his work with the organisation. His empathy for those struggling with PTSD is heartfelt and genuine, driving him to tirelessly advocate for the cause.
As a veteran himself, Ian’s role at PTSD Dogs Australia is more than just a position; it’s a personal commitment, he is deeply invested in the organisation’s mission. His passion for the cause is reflected in his tireless efforts to champion the benefits of assistance dogs and to advocate for their increased accessibility.
In addition to his work with PTSD Dogs Australia, Ian is a professional civil engineer with 40+ years experience as a Director, Senior Executive and Manager with particular skills in strategic and operational level business planning and major infrastructure and building project planning and delivery.
A graduate of the Royal Military College Duntroon, Ian served 23 years in the Australian Army, Royal Australian Engineers Corps. The majority of Ian’s service career involved managing planning and delivery of major facilities projects.
After retiring from the Army, Ian worked in senior management positions for leading Australian engineering and construction companies including Kinhill Engineers, Neumann Contractors, Abigroup Contractors and Lendlease for a further 20+ years. Ian has served on the Board of YMCA Brisbane since 2011, including two terms as President from 2014 – 2018 and 2020 to present. Ian also served on the Board of Maroochy RSL from 2018 to 2021.
Ian Smyllie’s deep compassion, combined with his leadership qualities, make him an instrumental figure in PTSD Dogs Australia. His work continues to bring hope and relief to those grappling with PTSD, providing them with the companionship and support they need to navigate their daily lives.
John Butterworth, a grazier from the North West Slopes of New South Wales, is a highly regarded board member of PTSD Dogs Australia. His strong leadership, deep empathy, and commitment to service have made him an invaluable asset to the organisation.
With a background in livestock breeding in the rural landscapes of New South Wales, Australia, John brings a unique understanding of animal behaviour and training to his role. His years of experience handling and working with animals have provided him with the insight to contribute meaningfully to the organization’s mission.
Having witnessed the profound effects of PTSD on individuals within his community, John is deeply committed to the organisation’s cause. His dedication to helping those living with PTSD is reflected in his tireless efforts to promote the benefits of service dogs and to advocate for greater accessibility to these life-changing companions.
In addition to his role with PTSD Dogs Australia, John has served on the Barraba Shire Council for 11 years, demonstrating his commitment to public service and his dedication to improving the lives of his fellow Australians.
John was a General Aviation Pilot ferrying aircraft throughout the world. He has also lectured in Agriculture at Nambour, including Gympie, T.A.F.E
John is now retired and upholds a continued membership of Rotary and Warden of Noosa Anglican Church.
John Butterworth’s passionate advocacy, combined with his extensive experience in animal handling, makes him an instrumental figure in PTSD Dogs Australia. His work continues to transform lives, providing hope and companionship to those who need it most.
Megan James is an esteemed board. Her strategic acumen, empathetic nature, and unwavering commitment have substantially contributed to the progression of the organization’s mission.
Megan’s wide-ranging professional journey, particularly her substantial experience in mental health services, gives her a unique and valuable perspective in her role at PTSD Dogs Australia. Her deep understanding of the profound challenges faced by individuals living with PTSD has made her a strong advocate for the therapeutic benefits of assistance dogs.
Megan is a Clinical Psychologist registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). She has completed a Bachelor of Science (Hons) Psychology, a Master of Psychology (Clinical) and is a member of the Australian Psychological Society (MAPS). Megan has experience working in clinical settings including inpatient psychiatric facilities, community mental health and private practice, providing psychological services to individuals, couples, families and groups.
Witnessing the life-altering impact of PTSD through her practise, Megan is passionately committed to the organisation’s cause. Her dedication is reflected in her relentless efforts to raise awareness about the healing benefits of assistance dogs and to champion for their increased access and recognition.
Beyond her role at PTSD Dogs Australia, Megan is widely respected for her active involvement in community initiatives and inherent leadership skills. Her meaningful contributions to various local causes demonstrate her commitment to service and her ambition to effect positive change in the lives of others.
As a board member of PTSD Dogs Australia, Megan James’ deep compassion, strategic vision, and relentless dedication make her an invaluable asset to the organisation. Her ongoing efforts continue to bring hope, comfort, and companionship to those grappling with PTSD, reinforcing the transformative impact of assistance dogs in their lives.
Megan is also undergoing training in animal-assisted therapy and hopes to introduce this element to Amber Psychology in the future.
These dedicated trainers have given so much of their time to ensure that we have a robust and highly successful training program that not only teaches our rescue dogs how to behave in public but also how to interact with their handler so they become an effective team.
Angie has studied across a number of disciplines including Education, Real Estate, Horticulture, Built Environment and Dog Behaviour and Training special interest Assistance Dog. She has owned several businesses in Real Estate, Horticulture and currently a highly successful dog welcoming accommodation business called Angie’s Garden.
Angie, identifies strongly with social responsibility and believes that both individuals and corporations are accountable for making the world a better place and that it starts with our personal actions as an Individual. These actions must benefit the whole of society.
Angie, has been an active volunteer, advocate and supporter in a number of personal interest areas including an underprivileged girls touch football team, where she was known as “the positive people”, RSPCA supporter, Australia Zoo Wildlife Warrior, The Orangutan Project, Wildlife Currumbin Sanctuary and more recently created Project Shelter which helps provide Food Shelter and Vet care for shelter dogs at Maryborough Animal Refuge.
Jan is a seasoned Dog Trainer at PTSD Dogs Australia with over five years of experience in the field of dog training and behaviour, Jan brings a wealth of professional expertise to her role. She is a formally trained dog behaviorist, and has Delta certificate 4 in animal behaviour, which equips her with the necessary skills to understand and address the unique needs of assistance dogs. Her training also extends to K9 trauma care and pet first aid, and she is an Animal Reiki practitioner, demonstrating her holistic approach to animal care.
Jan’s work with assistance dogs is more than just a professional commitment; it’s a deeply personal mission. Her understanding of the therapeutic power of assistance dogs and their potential to provide support and companionship to individuals dealing with PTSD drives her dedication to the cause.
Beyond her role at PTSD Dogs, Jan is known for her commitment to animal welfare and her contributions to community initiatives. Her dedication to improving the lives of both animals and humans is evident in the passion and meticulous care she infuses into every facet of her work.
As a Dog Trainer, Jan’s extensive understanding of canine behaviour, strategic training methods, and steadfast dedication make her an invaluable asset to the organisation. Her relentless efforts continue to instil hope, comfort, and companionship in those battling PTSD, achieved through the exceptional assistance dogs she trains.
Formerly of Smart Pups assistance dogs, Kate is in training as a dog behaviourist and assistance dog trainer
We're a dedicated pack
We’re a team of professional advocates, volunteers and supporters with a passion for people and animals. We’re dedicated to the rescuing, rehoming and training of displaced and unwanted dogs.
Show Your Support
October 10th is World Mental Health Day and I will be celebrating this special day by shaving off my beard to help raise awareness and funds for PTSD dog training. It’s a small gesture with a big impact! I truly believe that together, we can make a difference. Whether you choose to participate in fundraising efforts or simply support us by spreading the word, every single person can make a meaningful contribution.