'Soldier's Best Friend' helps Valley veterans fight PTSD

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A Valley non-profit has trained hundreds of service dogs for vets with PTSD.
 
And they've done it without a facility that they could call their own.
 
But on Thursday it all changed.

The bond between a veteran and the furry friends beside them can be special and life-changing.

"Anywhere from tear-jerking to literally taking your breath away," John Brunham said.

Five-and-a-half-years-ago, John was inspired to being "Soldier's Best Friend." As a veterinarian and now the non-profit's president, he's seen how a service dog can help in the battle against PTSD.

"We hear from veterans directly, we hear from spouses and significant others, we hear from moms and dads; the changes that they've seen in themselves or in their loved ones and how they've begun to adjust to civilian life," he said.

The organization spends six-to-nine months training the dogs to perform tasks like fetching medication or simply staying by a veteran's side. Until today, all of that training has been in shared spaces around the Valley.

But now, thanks to grants and donations, "Soldier's Best Friend" has a new facility to call its own.

"It's going to give us a focal point, an area that we can come together as an organization and as a community," Brunham said.

The grants and donations will give "Soldier's Best Friend" more flexibility, longer hours and a bigger space to help as many as possible.

Brunham also says over the years, two-to-three thousand veterans have reached out for help.

"We have a tremendous need throughout Arizona and the country to assist our veterans," he said.

What a better way to help than by giving them the gift of a loyal best friend.


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