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BLACK LAB, FREEDOM, GIVES A MARINE HIS LIFE BACK
“I instantly loved him,” retired Marine Jim Kuiken, who’s suffered from PTSD since 1977, told PEOPLE. “He came out and licked my hand and sat next to me while I put the leash on him Here I am, a 30-year, multiple-war Marine Corps vet, and he melted me with just one look.” During a particularly low low (“I was sinking further into the chair,” said Kuikan), this veteran reached out to K9s for Warriors and was matched with Freedom, a black Lab, who provided the support he needed to tackle his demons. “It’s overwhelming to have my life back.”
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SMUCKERS FINDS A LOST TREASURE
In 2014, a Labrador and golden retriever mix was simply going about his business, digging in the backyard for fun surprises when he came across something truly valuable: a Purple Heart. An organization known as Purple Hearts Reunited published a story about Smuckers’ find and connected with the family of Korean war vet Richmond L. Litman, the medal’s rightful owner. “I will honor it as much as he honored it when he was alive. I truly appreciate it from the bottom of my heart,” Litman’s stepdaughter, Leatra Plick, told the Denver Post.
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RAKKASAN HELPS RETIRED MARINE HEAL
After tours in Kuwait and Iraq, Adam Renteria struggled with the return to civilian life. “I felt this disconnection from everybody and everything – family, friends and from myself,” he told PEOPLE. When he met Ranteria, a 30-lb Korean Jindo – slowly but surely – he began feeling safe again. “That first night, Rakkasan slept in my bed. I put my hand on him and fell asleep for eight hours straight – for the first time in years.”
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VET REUNITES WITH DOG, CILA
“She looked at me, she started smelling me – and she knew me,” Jason Bos said of his emotional reunion with his former partner, a bomb-sniffing chocolate Lab, at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in 2014. The tearful reunion was captured on video, right before Bos took her home to a comfy retirement in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “Her whole life has been about working. Now it’s time for her to worry about just relaxing.”
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INJURED ARMY VET REUNITES WITH COMBAT DOG, MATTY
While serving in Afghanistan, Brent Grommet and his combat dog, Matty, were injured in an explosion. When Grommet returned home and started the formal process of adopting Matty, he found that the dog had already been given to another family. The vet told his story to “On the Record,” and, thanks to the help of listeners, was soon reunited with his friend. “It’s like a fairytale,” the Army vet told Fox News.
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TWO DOGS WELCOMED HOME SOLDIER
Raindrops blur the camera (just as tears blur our vision), but the happy emotions – and sounds – come through very clearly. This video, posted in 2010, of a soldier coming home to his two big dogs is highly emotional for all parties, especially the two massive dogs who leap and lick and squeal excitedly to see their old friend has returned home.