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K9 Partners for Patriots works to help veterans struggling with self-isolation

Posted at 8:28 PM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-14 20:28:11-04

BROOKSVILLE, Fla. -- Self-isolation can be a real challenge for veterans who struggle with mental health issues. K9 Partners for Patriots is an organization that aims to help veterans overcome isolation.

Leslie Ridlon served with the army and marines for nearly three decades.

After retiring, she suffered from injuries, pill addiction, and anxiety.

"I was angry but I didn’t know why I was angry. Everyone was angry. We were all angry," said Ridlon.

Ridlon got help through K9 Partners for Patriots, an organization that pairs service dogs with veterans.

Counselors say many vets who suffer from PTSD and other military-related traumas spend years self-isolating.

K9 Partners for Patriots works to help veterans overcome self-isolation by bringing them together for dog training and group therapy.

But the state's safer-at-home order have changed that.

"They’re telling me they’re falling back on their old behaviors because they’re forced into this isolation that’s not their choice," said Denny Brown, veteran support counselor for K9 Partners for Patriots.

Ridlon says staying at home has been a struggle for her as well.

"I get angry and anxious," said Ridlon.

Ridlon is making face masks for hospitals to help pass the time, but says she's concerned about her fellow vets.

"They don’t need to be isolated. They need fresh air. They need interaction. I can see them pulling back into their shell," said Ridlon.

Since the group can’t meet in person,  K9 Partners for Patriots is having weekly dog training videos and video therapy sessions, which Ridlon says is a big help.

"It does keep me grounded," said Ridlon.

For more information on K9 Partners for Patriots visit,