BROOKSVILLE, Fla. -- Miguel is a Marine. He is not having the best day. That is why Daisy is always "on the clock." The comforting Dalmatian sits at Miguel's feet.
“I give her lots of love and affection,” says Miguel. “And that calms me down.”
Miguel and Daisy are in the new state-of-the-art confines of K9 Partners for Patriots. The Brooksville non-profit organization pairs shelter dogs with military veterans coping with PTSD.
“Our goal is to save two: a veteran and a dog,” says the program’s leader Mary Peter.
Already K9 Partners for Patriots has saved more than 100 dogs from shelters.
The animals are trained to be medical-alert service dogs, detecting changes in adrenaline, stress and anxiety. Their job is to redirect that negativity with a comforting distraction.
When Miguel has a "moment", Daisy puts her two front paws on him and kisses his face.
“She helps me go in public more, be more comfortable in public,” says Miguel, who says the program has been “awesome.”
The Brooksville facility recently relocated to a space three times larger than its former location. The extra room allowed K9 Partners for Patriots to put in simulation rooms to help veterans better handle stressful situations, whether they be a doctor’s office, restaurant, pet or grocery store.
“How to get a shopping cart, how to train their dog to walk beside the cart,” says Mary Peter.
A staggering 22 veterans commit suicide every day in the country. Many are suffering from PTSD.
Donations to K9 Partners for Patriots are welcome. If you would like to learn more about the program, visit k9partnersforpatriots.com.