TAMPA, Fla. — Lenny Woods served in the U.S. Marine Corps for nearly seven years but has struggled after his service.
"It's so hard out here for veterans especially when they tell you, you can’t go back to work," said Woods.
The injuries he got during training crippled his body, he’s had 19 surgeries. The pain and PTSD have also crippled his spirit.
"I’ve thought about suicide several times because the pain is just so much," said Woods.
But despite his physical and mental challenges, Woods has found purpose in giving back to vets. Including serving as a mentor for the Veterans Treatment Court.
"I’m going to do my best to give back," said Woods.
And when dog trainers Dr. Beckie Laplant and her partner heard Woods's story, they wanted to give back to him.
"We don’t know what these men and women go through, and it makes me want to tear up now just thinking about it," said Laplant.
They donated a german shepherd puppy named Coco to Woods, and he says the dog has changed his life.
"It gives me a reason to live, something to take care of. Takes my mind off of my pain. Takes my mind off of the hard things that are in my emotions, my PTSD," said Woods.
Right now the two are bonding, and then Coco will go to San Diego for 16 weeks to complete her training, something that’s expensive and there’s a GoFundMe to help with the cost.
Woods says he plans to use Coco to help him, and to help other veterans as well.
"I have a newfound reason for living," said Woods.
If you're interested in helping, visit: GoFundMe