(Toledo News Now) – Dogs may be considered man's best friend, but as it turns out, they also make great companions for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Frank Delorenzo, an Iraq war veteran, suffers from post-traumatic stress and brain injuries. He found a way not only help himself, but a way to help his fellow veterans. Frank gets all the help he needs from his dog, Sophie:
"At seven o'clock, Sophie eats in the morning, then I take my medication. If I double feed her, she won't touch the second bowl so I already know I've taken my medication."
Delorenzo realized just how helpful a dog can be for war veterans who have post-traumatic stress, and started Wags 4 Warriors with his wife Jen. The non-profit program is aimed at helping war veterans cope with everyday life with the aid of a service dog.
"We currently have 30 to 40 dogs and veterans in the program that are receiving training and we do it at no cost to the veterans," Delorenzo explained.
Ashley Beadle served in the air force. After her medical discharge in 2008, she had a difficult time adjusting to life at home. After discovering Wags 4 Warriors, Ashley was paired up with Keaton:
"He wakes me up from nightmares and he makes me more comfortable when I do sleep. And if we're in Walmart, and I forgot to take my medication, he starts barking."
Most of the dogs at the training facility are rescue dogs. Many were just hours away from death.
Veterans must qualify for the program before a dog can be assigned. For Frank and Jen, nothing makes them happier than to see a struggling war veteran start to turn their life around.
"There is light at the end of the tunnel there so the veterans all see it. Now they've got someone walking next to them at all times so their anxiety levels can slow down and they can start to enjoy life and their families again," Frank said.