Veteran meets new service dog for the first time

Many of our brave men and women in the military come home with emotional and physical scars from deployment. Coping w...

Posted: Mar. 10, 2018 2:41 PM
Updated: Mar. 10, 2018 2:41 PM

Many of our brave men and women in the military come home with emotional and physical scars from deployment. Coping with civilian life can be difficult, but four-legged friends can make it easier.

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A special new friendship began Wednesday, March 7. FOX6 was there as Shawn Dalton bonded with his new best friend, Tango.

"When we first met, he just kind of threw himself at me. I just knew," said Dalton.

Dalton knew immediately that this was the right match. Tango was trained to meet Dalton's medical and emotional needs, through Custom Canines.

"Our organization raises, trains and places service dogs with people who have a variety of disabilities," said Nicole

Sixty percent of their wait list is made up of military veterans like Dalton -- many dealing with post-traumatic stress and other disabilities associated with their deployments.

"They help them at nighttime and help wake them up from night terrors and flashbacks," said Nicole

The dogs help them cope.

"They're taught to come up and lean on them, come up on their lap, disrupt them from episodes of disassociation and isolation," said Nicole.

"I've been a hermit for the last several years. He's going to get me out normal again," said Dalton.

Sponsors American Warrior Initiative and Fairway Mortgage partnered with Custom Canines to present the dog to Dalton. In 2017, Custom Canines placed 12 dogs with military veterans, and there is a waiting list. Dalton had been on it since last year.

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