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June 2023

Chairman's Message

As the Dalai Lama said, “it is not enough to be compassionate – you must act”.

The theme running through this newsletter is about people who have acted. Without the generous support of our Joint Patrons, His Excellency the Governor General of Australia and Mrs Hurley, our ambassadors, partners, sponsors, and numerous individuals we would not be able to provide the best possible Assistance Dogs to Veterans and First Responders in need.

I was, as I’m sure you will be, inspired to read about a local Year 9 student who is raising funds for Integra. She has displayed compassion and is acting on it because in her
words she “wanted to be part of the process make a better world for those who served and find it hard to cope with life after the Military.”
Another individual who is acting on his compassion is our newest Board member Professor Zachary Steel PhD M. Clin Psych. I look forward to working with Zach and know his insights and knowledge can only strengthen Integra as we move forward and continue to build on our great service delivery and support to our Veteran and First Responder clients.

Our Ambassador Jess Cameron talks about how she has acted and is proud to be a part of the work of Integra.

I now ask you to act on your compassion. As the End of the Financial Year approaches it is time to donate to Integra. All donations are tax deductible. As a small organisation we rely on the community and are grateful for all donations.

These donations allow us to provide Assistance Dogs to sectors of the community, especially our First Responders and many Veterans who are not eligible for support from DVA. We can only continue to provide this service with your generous ongoing donations and financial support.
Mark Holmes
Brigadier Mark Holmes AM MVO (Ret'd)
Chairman, Integra Service Dogs Australia

Government House Canberra Visit

Our Joint Patrons, His Excellency the Governor General of Australia and Mrs Hurley hosted an event at Government House, Canberra recently. The event was held to recognise Integra Service Dogs Australia’s Veteran Handler teams in the lead up to Anzac Day 2023.

The afternoon tea was an informal gathering that allowed their Excellencies to meet and thank our
Integra Veterans impacted by PTSD and their assistance dogs. They also acknowledged our partners and supporters of Integra’s work.

We thank our extraordinary and generous patrons for their continued strong commitment and support.

This day was captured on video thanks to Good Call Media. Watch here.

Message from Ambassador, Jessica Cameron

A weathered hand unfurls a small green mat on the ground and on it, a golden Labrador quietly settles itself.

Nelson is an on-duty assistance dog, given to his handler by Integra Service Dogs Australia. Dogs are known as humans’ best friends, but these dogs are even more special, trained specifically to help veterans and first responders navigate life with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Jess Cameron
It’s a chilly Saturday morning in April 2022. The pair have come to a strength gym in Canberra to watch me attempt to break a Guinness World Record, a feat of strength that has been months in the making.

I chat briefly with Nelson’s human, and I explain that I’ll be deadlifting the loaded barbell on the platform as many times as I can in 60 seconds. He’s incredulous, but there’s a palpable sense of excitement in the air as a small crowd gathers.

A few minutes later, inspired by the swell of emotion in the room, I broke the record, deadlifting 105 kilograms 47 times in 60 seconds to a cumulative amount of 4935kg. This surpassed the previous record by over 900 kilograms and later, it was made official!
The real triumph for me is knowing that I had helped raise over $20,000 that would go directly to
support Integra’s mission. It can cost up to $40,000 to train and support an assistance dog.

I first learnt about Integra several years ago when I attended an open day at the Russell Offices in
Canberra. Integra trainers attended, along with a handful of handlers and their dogs. Ben Johnson,
the CEO and co-founder was there.

In late 2021, a few months before my 40th birthday, an idea formed to combine my love of lifting
heavy things and giving back to a charity that felt close to my heart. Integra was top of my
mind, so I emailed Ben. He and the wider Integra team were receptive and willing to support
my endeavour however they could. After getting approval to challenge the record from Guinness
World Records, I worked to secure a venue, diligently read the rules, and started sharing posts with
my small social media following.

The audacious record I was pursuing was the hook, but the real story I shared was of the lasting,
tangible work that the team behind Integra do to make a difference.

Veterans and first responders sign up to serve our country and our communities as their job, but the service can have debilitating effects on them, their families, and their lives generally.

Being an ambassador for Integra was never something I set about doing, but it’s an honour that I
intend to uphold for as long as I’m wanted.

I’ve been fortunate to meet and chat with people at one of Integra’s supporter organisations,
Dingo, which has a strong history of supporting Defence, and veterans in particular. I’ve also been
present to witness one of Australia’s original strongmen and a fellow Integra ambassador, Grant
Edwards, attempt to add yet another Guinness World Record to his long list of achievements.

At every turn, it’s the people (and dogs) I’ve met that inspire me to do more with the life I have.
To me, Integra is about hope in the face of dark struggles and about connectedness when it seems like you’re alone.

But it’s easy to become immune to the awareness-raising coming from the hundreds of charities vying for public donations.

It’s easy to assume that someone with more money than you will make a donation.

It’s easy to look at the cute faces of the assistance dogs and forget the vital role they play.

Making a difference isn’t always easy, but we have to do hard things, for those who can’t.

New Four-Legged Members of the Integra Family

With the extraordinary generosity of your donations and support from our wonderful corporate
partners, Integra has been able to bring the following new dogs into our Advanced Training Program for development as new assistance dogs for veterans and first responders:
Poncho & Slattery
Poncho & Slattery.
Photo: Jessie Brown

New Partnership - The Foreshore Vet

Integra is proud to announce a partnership with The Foreshore Vet. With a highly qualified dedicated team and a love for animals, they provide a high standard of veterinary care to the Canberra Community. The clinic is modern with purpose-built facilities that help deliver the best possible veterinary care.
Poncho & Slattery. Photo: Jessie Brown
We welcome opportunities to partner with government organisations, business, and the
community sectors to support Integra to expand our services to those who will benefit
from an Integra Assistance Dog.

Reach out today to discuss how you can show your support.

Phone: 1800-003-647 (1800-00DOGS)

New Board Member

Integra is proud to introduce Professor Zach Steel PhD M. Clin Psych as a member of our Board.

Professor Zach Steel holds the St John of God Chair of Trauma and Mental Health a partnership
between Richmond Hospital, the School of Psychiatry UNSW and the Black Dog Institute. He heads a program of clinical research into the impact of trauma on veterans, first responders, refugees, asylum seekers and civilian populations. He has established a highly cited research program in his work especially with the asylum seeker population.

Integra looks forward to the insights and ideas he will provide as a valued member of Integra’s

Fundraisers & Donations

Thank you to the following generous sponsors and donors who through their donations and
fundraising efforts for Integra will assist our Veterans and First Responders suffering from PTSD.
The Anglican School Googong
Alexa Burn a student at The Anglican School Googong is running a series of fundraising events at the school. The campaign commenced in May with a visit from our CEO and co-founder Ben Johnson, Integra Dogs Plato and Hooper.

Alexa is a Year 9 student who “wants to support the amazing people who served our country, like my father, and the people he works with and worked with. I wanted to be part of the process to make a better world for those who served and find it hard to cope with life after the Military.”

Fundraising events at the school have included a sausage sizzle, jelly bean guessing competition and a colouring in competent which the students from junior school were very excited to participate in.
Alexa Burns with Integra Dogs Plato & Hooper
Dingo the award-wining Enterprise Predictive Maintenance Software solutions for the Mining and
defence industries donated $10,000.
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Toll Helicopters
Toll Helicopters who are an experienced provider of specialised mission-critical helicopter services
and training for Government, Defence and the civil sector kindly donated $15,000.
Victorian Freemasons Foundation & the Combined Lodges
The Victorian Freemasons Foundation and the Combined Lodges and their members made a
generous donation $6,500.
KPMG Trivia Night
KPMG 2023 New Graduate Cohort in Canberra hosted a trivia night to raise funds for Integra. The event raised over $2,170.

Canberra Rod and Kustom Krooze

The 33rd annual Canberra Rod and Kustom Krooze raised $6,000 for Integra.
Media 5-33B1E247-A18E-43FB-BDF6-CC05B8F3EB0E

Upcoming Fundraiser

This year a team has entered the Run Melbourne 2023 to raise much-needed funds for and
awareness of Integra.

You can support the team by donating today here.

Thank you to all our supporters.

It’s Tax Time again!

Don’t forget to donate to Integra before the EOFY so you can claim it as a tax deduction.

Donations to Integra are tax deductible as approved by the Australian Taxation Office. We direct all
our resourcing into providing the best possible Assistance Dogs to Veterans and First Responders in need.

Your giving is making a difference.

Scan the QR code to donate!

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