Canadian Intervention and Assistance Dogs
Canadian Intervention and Assistance Dogs

How We Got Here

What happens when two first responders and a nurse start talking about the need for a place for a first responder to go when they have been prescribed a PTSD service dog? In a few short hours they find that they’ve developed a vision and mission statement and that between them they know enough people to help make this dream a reality. This is how CIAD was born.

CIAD is simple; the acronym stands for Canadian Intervention and Assistance Dogs Society. In Gaelic, the word ciad means “first or primary” which is fitting because the goal is to pair First Responders with service dogs.

What is PTSD? Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health injury caused by witnessing or experiencing actual or threatened death, serious injury or violence. Being affected by these types of events is normal, however if the thoughts or memories start to negatively impact the day to day life of the person long after the event, they could be experiencing PTSD. Signs that someone may be experiencing PTSD include recurrent nightmares/night terrors, uncontrollable memories, persistent fear and severe anxiety.

How can a service dog help a first responder with PTSD? A service dog can be trained to perform specific tasks that the first responder (let’s call them the handler) needs in order to feel safe and functional in society. For example, if the handler needs to be warned that someone is coming up behind them, the dog can be trained to “watch their back”. This means that the dog will stand or lie down behind their handler to make sure no one gets too close. The dog will let them know that someone is behind them, by leaning on the handler’s legs or putting space between the handler and the person behind them. The dog can also be trained to wake them up from nightmares or remove them from a stressful situation. It’s truly amazing to watch a service dog working.

So, who are these people who saw a need and want to work very hard to make this a reality? There’s a paramedic who has seen far too much in her short thirteen year career and knows how important it is to talk, process and face the reality of the job head on. Who wants there to be support systems in place if she or someone she knows needs it. A police officer who has PTSD, who really knows what a difference a well-trained service dog can make, a registered nurse who sees too much hurt in the world and understands the effects of mental health injuries and a veterinarian who understands the unlimited potential of a properly trained service dog.

In just a few short months this unstoppable team has been able to bring this dream to reality. With the launch of CIAD, Nova Scotia first responders will finally have a place to turn for help, assistance and support. This won’t be possible though without a little help from our friends. We are looking for volunteers and donors so if you’d like to help or would like more information contact us.

Get in touch

Volunteer. Contribute. Lend a Hand. Donate
There are many ways that you can help CIAD grow…by volunteering your time, talents or financial contributions to help us reach our goal of pairing service dogs with first responders.


 275 Rocky Lake Drive, Unit 9
Bedford, NS B4A 2T3