North Wales, Pa. (WTXF) A family says their lives changed when a 4-legged friend joined their family. Now, a mother and son are trying to make a difference for others.
"It's really hard for me to go out in public a lot unless I have somebody with me and even somebody with me is hard," said Marine Corp veteran Robert Marcolina.
He's trying to get his life back with the help of Diesel training to become his service dog. Robert suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after serving two tours. He was deployed to Iraq in 2008 and Afghanistan in 2009.
"Having a battle buddy with me, he calms my nerves and is just something to take the focus off of and be a companion," said Robert.
Diesel is getting the training from Jennifer Green who started Alpha Bravo Canine. It's an organization that provides service dogs to veterans free of charge who suffer from PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury.
"Our dogs have no judgment, they don't care what we've been through and they're very accepting of us," said Jennifer.
She runs Alpha Bravo Canine along with her son Kevin who is a Marine veteran who suffers from PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury too.
"I was 19 years old accepting the fact that the death of my friends I were just another work place hazard and that just never really left me. Trying to sleep at night it's really tough because it's in a dark, quiet room when things are the loudest and the scariest," said Kevin.
They came up with the idea to provide service dogs for vets when Kevin was in a mental hospital at his lowest.
"There was a therapy dog in the hospital that just nudged my forehead and looked at me and kind of said like we'll get through this. Straight from then I kind of realized the connection between mental illness and a dog and what good it could do," said Kevin.
Diesel is the first service dog Jennifer and Kevin are training. He's learning to get his owner's medicine, sense anxiety, panic attacks and keep others at a distance when Robert gets overwhelmed.
The breeding and obtaining of the animals, their training and medical care can cost up to $20,000 per dog.
Jennifer and Kevin are making their mission to see it through, all for veterans.
"I want them to live the life that they deserve and that they've earned. That's my hope," said Jennifer.
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