Patriot Paws: Veterans Receive Service Dogs

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ROCKWALL, Texas -- It was "paws" and circumstance at a graduation in Rockwall Friday. Patriot Paws Service Dogs served as a matchmaker for five United States Veterans.

“We raise and train service dogs for disabled American veterans, and we give the dogs to the veterans at no cost to them,” Assistant Executive Director Terri Stringer said.

Army Specialist E-4 Eddie Roman was one of those veterans.

“I was with the U.S. Army for a little while, and I suffered traumatic brain injury.  I don’t want to go into detail, but it was some post-traumatic stress, so I’ve been having problems with sleeping,” he said.

"The day that we were matched, he came in and I knew it.  It was just like a match made in Heaven,” Roman smiled while petting his new service dog, Pilot.

“We do not get any government funds. The total cost to get them from puppy to service dog is about $34,000.  We need the help of the public,” Stringer urged. “We’ve placed, as of today, 97 service dogs. We're hoping to place our 100th by the end of the year.”

“I’ve got to thank the people that actually raised the puppy and donated because without that, this would not be possible,” Army Specialist E-4 Eddie Roman added.  “Its not a cure, but it helps me manage my everyday life.  Brings my life to some kind of normalcy.”

“It’s such a moving experience to know that these guys have given us so much, that we can give back just a little bit,” Jill Tate said.

Her 6-year-old son forwent birthday presents to raise money for the organization, “It means the world, and we just can’t say ‘thank you’ enough.”