A friend named Bert: A Canadian veteran living with PTSD finds hope in a donkeyCTV News Canada
CTV News Ottawa Multi-Skilled Journalist
December 27, 2022
Karen is living with PTSD. She is a veteran of the Canadian Forces, doing her best to live with a painful past.
Karen Stacey, a Canadian Forces veteran living with PTSD, enjoys a gentle stroll with her friend Bert (Joel Haslam/CTV Ottawa)
Karen Stacey swings wide a creaky, stainless steel gate, announcing her arrival.
“Good morning, Bert. Are you still sleeping?”
She’s come to see a friend; a soulmate of sorts, who’s changed her life.
“Hi, buddy,” she says with a smile.
Bert turns his head toward her, clearly recognizing his visitor.
His ears point to the sky.
“Hello, handsome,” Karen whispers.
She locks her arms around his neck and gives him a gentle peck between the eyes.
“He’s a blessing. I couldn’t have asked for a better success story than to have a donkey as my best friend.”
Karen and Bert’s friendship began at the Women Warriors Healing Garden in Blackburn Hamlet.
“It still hurts. So, finding this place and being able to let everything go is fantastic. This is 52 acres of freedom that I can wander as I want. No judgment, no stress, no pain. Just a lot of love,” she says.
Co-founded by an American military veteran, Erin Kinsey, and an Ottawa psychotherapist, Elaine Waddington Lamont, the garden is a place for veterans to heal.
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