Wounded veteran receives free, trained canine to help cope with disabilities

Wounded veteran receives free, trained canine to help cope with disabilities

HENDERSON, Texas (KTRE) - Two East Texas organizations partnered up to donate a trained service dog to a veteran in need.

Ron Vera served in the army for about seven years.

“I am diagnosed with severe P.T.S.D, and it causes a lot of anxiety when I’m in large crowds or things like that,” Vera said.

Wheelers for the Wounded Texas donated a trained service dog free of charge, in hopes of making his life easier.

“My daughter is a competition cheerleader. It was so hard to go to competitions with all the people there, but I did not want everyone to not go and make her feel like I did not support her. And now, I can go and really enjoy everything about it,” Vera explained.

K9 Basco Foundation founder Tony Villalobos says his organization provides service dogs to wounded veterans and first responders.

Molly is a two-year-old rescue dog who passed her evaluation with flying colors.

“Molly is what we call a PTSD alert dog. Her tasks are to alert her veteran to those cues right before the panic attacks happens or those triggers,” Villalobos said. “We encourage the veterans to get back out by going shopping or go back to school. We want them to get back to those activities that they loved doing before their disability.”

Vera says he is excited for his family to meet Molly.

Veteran receives PTSD service dog
Veteran receives PTSD service dog (Source: KTRE/T'Ebonie Tanner)

“I can and I will have that extra support from Molly, so that my family won’t have to consider my needs from my disability anymore. When we go to do things, we will be able to do more with no hesitation,” Vera explained.

Organizers say it cost between $20,000 to $30,000 to continuously educate a dog.

“Most veterans and wounded veterans are on a limited budget, so they simply can’t afford to get a dog,” said Stacie Hammack, president of Wheelers for the Wounded Texas.

Hammack hopes this is one of many steps towards helping the veteran community.

“Any veterans that are out there struggling, please know that we are not alone. There are so many good people out there that want to help us,” Vera added. “Tell your stories and let people know that we do struggle, but we are still here and want to be here.”

“We want them to be able to step away from that ledge, and know that their life still matters,” Hammack added.

The recipient, Ron Vera says even though they just met today, Molly has already started to love on him like they have known each other for months.

Copyright 2021 KTRE. All rights reserved.