While stationed in Guam on board the USS Frank Cable AS-40, Michael, a Navy machinist, was nearly killed when a boiler tank exploded. Two of his shipmates died in the blast.
Michael endured fifty surgeries and countless hours of therapy as a result of the injuries he sustained in the explosion. He lives with visible scars as well as those we cannot see, including PTSD and Depression.
On April 28, Michael joined three other disabled veterans at a very special ceremony. The four human graduates of Patriot PAWS Service Dogs‘ Spring 2017 class were joined by four dogs, each having “chosen” the veteran they would devote their lives to serving.
The event was the culmination of three years of vigorous training for the dogs and untold days of suffering for the servicemen.
“Walking into the Spring 2017 Graduation for Patriot PAWS Service Dogs, Michael was aware of the potential a service dog had to change his life. He was not prepared, however, for the incredible bond that would form with the service dog who picked him to serve,” Patriot PAWS told iHeartDogs.
Stan is a handsome and sleek chocolate lab who showed exceptional skill during his training. He quickly formed a bond with Michael, and has become a beloved member of the family.
“Michael said, ‘I wanted to take my recovery to the next level…I fought to become more independent to relieve the burden I had placed on my family, and…with the advanced training of Mr. Stan, I can now depend on him to help me with the tedious tasks that my family used to have to perform. My family can finally stand down…because I now have a buddy that loves to help and look after me!'”
Patriot PAWS participates in the Pets & Vets program through GreaterGood.org. With funds generated by your iHeartDogs purchases, worthy veterans like Michael are able to regain their independence through the invaluable assistance of a service dog.
Best of all, Stan and other specially trained pups – which can cost upwards of $20,000 are provided to our servicemen and women at no cost to them.
Featured Images via Facebook/Patriot Paws Service Dogs