John’s daughter, a psychologist for first responders, knew the incredible benefits a service animal could have for their handler. She recommended her father, a Navy Veteran, try to obtain a service animal. When John’s wife heard about our Pets and Vets program at the Department of Veterans Affairs, John knew it was time to begin the process.
Our team paired John with Bruno, a 55-pound German Shepherd mix found as a stray in Tehama County. Malnourished and covered in foxtails, Bruno wasn’t in great shape. But after a few weeks of loving care in a foster home, a whole new dog began showing through. And he blossomed even more once he met John.
Coincidentally, John participated in a six-week cognitive training held by the VA to test his sleep efficiency around this time. His change in sleep quality since welcoming Bruno was astounding. “I was sleeping at 64% efficiency before I had Bruno,” he told us. “By the end of the six weeks with Bruno, I improved to 99%.”With a bed right beside John’s, Bruno puts his paw on John to calm him and help him fall back asleep when he wakes in the night.
Whether out in busy, public spaces or within the confines of their home, our Pets and Vets dogs assist their partners night and day. “For a lot of us Veterans, we live a different life,” John said with a smile.
To submit your ARF-adopted pet’s story and photos, fill out our online submission form.