PONTE VEDRA, Fla. – Navy veteran Robert Foster recently returned home to Kissimmee with his new companion, Andy, a service dog trained to help him manage symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder that resulted from his military service.
Foster applied for the opportunity through K9s For Warriors, a national nonprofit that takes eligible shelter dogs and trains them to be service dogs to mitigate symptoms of PTSD.
“I want my life back," Foster said. "I’ll never forget what I experienced and saw but I want to return back to living with my family and enjoy every minute.”
Upon his arrival at K9s For Warriors, Foster met Andy, a star pupil who had already completed formal service canine training.
The duo trained in public every day, and received instruction on dog health care and matters of service dog access, all while forming and strengthening their bond.
"Service dogs are a proven method of alleviating the debilitating symptoms of PTSD – like suicidal ideation," said Rory Diamond, K9s For Warriors CEO. "They not only get our veterans back on their feet, but they also help them regain a sense of normalcy in their lives. Most veterans with PTSD think they’ve lost that forever.”