'There's no miracles in it' - Dog trainer recognised for her work turning man's best friend into invaluable helpers

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Dog trainer Janice Kirk has spent her entire career proving man's best friend can be much more.

Janice Kirk is a recipient of this year's Kiwibank Local Hero Awards.
Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Kirk has been nominated for this year’s Kiwibank Local Hero awards.

She helped train a dog, Delta, for Afghanistan veteran Dion Taka after he was injured in the 2012 battle of Baghak.

He says getting Delta has changed his life.

"The sleep patterns, the nightmares, the dreams – they've all settled down," Mr Taka says.

The little white shepherd has helped him manage his symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"The change that she's made to my life is huge. She's given me back some quality of life," he says.

Delta's now close to becoming a fully-qualified assistance dog and, thanks to Ms Kirk, it's all been free of charge.

Now the Kotuku Foundation, which provides dogs like Delta, has nominated Janice for one of this year's Kiwibank Local Hero awards.

Ms Kirk, a trainer with Tevra Dog Training, remains humble over her work.

"I can't train the dogs, I can only teach. The people train the dogs and there's no miracles in it,"  she says.

While dogs like Delta are used worldwide, Delta is the first of her kind in New Zealand.

Her success may become a model for more support dogs across the country.

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