Battle Buddies help veterans cope with life after service

Six veterans trained with service dogs in Battle Ground on Memorial Day

Six veterans trained with their service dogs provided by Battle Buddies in Battle Ground, Washington, May 29, 2017. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As loved ones honored the lives of fallen veterans on Memorial Day, service members were able to make progress in their efforts to find healing and a newfound sense of freedom with the help of service dogs.

The specially-trained dogs know how to calm veterans who may be dealing with anxiety, and can even help prevent them from having a panic attack before it starts.

Six veterans trained with their service dogs provided by Battle Buddies in Battle Ground, Washington, May 29, 2017. (KOIN)

Northwest Battle Buddies brought some furry companions out to Battle Ground on Monday to continue their 6 weeks of training with their future owners.

“It’s an unbelievable honor, to be around such courage and to serve such American heroes as them,” Northwest Battle Buddies founder Shannon Walker said.

Veterans Jesse Moore, Gordon Huggins, Robert Daschel, Jonathan Crawford, Dwane Far and Mike Sully waited years to get their service dogs. Each dog costs about $25,000, but the veterans got them for free.

“It took me a long time to figure out what my problem was,” Huggins, a Vietnam veteran, said. “I couldn’t do elevators before… I can’t do small spaces.”

Now, his new service dog, Hoss, helps him cope with his anxiety.

“I can’t explain it!” he said. “It’s so great.”

Six veterans trained with their service dogs provided by Battle Buddies in Battle Ground, Washington, May 29, 2017. (KOIN)

In addition to providing comfort, the service dogs are trained to save veterans from reacting to things like fear, anxiety or depression they may be suffering from.

“Thank God Northwest Battle Buddies are here to help us,” Huggins said.

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