ST. LOUIS - Pairing man`s best friend and veterans, and paying it forward, one pup at a time.
It`s called Operation Wolfhound, and their mission, to place support dogs with veterans in need.
“When you pet a dog oxytocin is released in your mind which is the hormone of love,” says Alicia Miller, Co-founder Operation Wolfhound. “But it`s also the hormone of wound healing. It causes you to feel better and have less intestinal upset. Your wounds heal 20 percent faster.”
Marine veteran Mike Humphries made the cross-country trip to St. Louis arriving Wednesday morning.
He`ll transport four German shepherd puppies from Operation Wolfhound and pair them with veterans in the western states.
“Not only do I have him for PTSD and TBI but I`m also a diabetic,” says Mike Humphries, Marine Veteran. “My blood sugar gets below a 70 and I have a tennis ball tied to the refrigerator. He will go and open up the refrigerator and I have these orange juice bottles on the bottom shelf. And he grabs an orange juice and brings it to me. This dog has literally saved my life on three different occasions.”
Operation Wolfhound provides service dogs for veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSB or traumatic brain injury, TBI.
Since July 4, 2007, the organization has placed 80 service animals with veterans across the country like Rachel Robison and 20-week-old West.
“Training West keeps me motivated and it gets me off the couch”' says Rachel Robison, Army Veteran. “It doesn`t, there`s no time to sit and dwell on all those thoughts and feelings. You pour all your thoughts and energy into your service dog, your medical device, and part of your family. You know West has become a huge part of our family.”
Operation Wolfhound provides the dogs free of charge to veterans including peer counseling, training assistance and lifetime support for their new furry best friends.