The Royal Canadian Regiment was formed as the Infantry School Corps in 1883. Since that date, the regiment has been involved in nearly every conflict and operation involving the deployment of Canadian Forces units or personnel.
William was wounded while serving in Afghanistan. Despite the challenges involved with his long recovery, he has made enormous progress and his spirits are high. He is now paired with Vantage, from the Assistance Dogs Division of Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind.
William says, “A couple of months after my injury, my occupational therapist suggested that I might be eligible for an assistance dog. I was immediately interested, but I had just started physiotherapy and learning to walk on prosthetics. I felt it was not the right time. It was about a year later that I sent in the paperwork.”
Shortly thereafter, William met with a trainer from Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind’s Assistance Dogs Division, and he was introduced to a couple of dogs. He still felt uncertain about how much he would be walking, so he decided to wait until this was a little clearer. The training started about a year later, when William could work on handling a dog from both the wheelchair and in a standing position. His walking was still very unstable, but he started with the chair and adjusted to the legs as he could.
“The training was extremely educational, learning how a dog’s mind works and all the different commands he is capable of,” says William. He received Vantage on the second day of training and the dog was permitted to stay at William’s home from that point, as he continued the training course. William was advised that it could take from three to six months before Vantage would bond with him. He says, even knowing what to expect, he questioned whether he had made a mistake.