Paws for Purple Hearts is saving veterans lives

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New Program Gives Free Service Dogs To Veterans

When veterans who were wounded in combat finally return home, they face a unique challenge. Many veterans end up struggling with physical challenges,

Congressional Research Service reports that of the 51,000 service members that have been injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands come home without any love or support of family and friends to help them cope with physical and mental disabilities.

For some of those veterans, comfort comes from 4-legged friends. Roger Lintz, a now-retired Infantry and Special Operations officer who injured his back during combat duty in Iraq said:

Two unsuccessful surgeries left Lintz severely disabled and in excruciating pain. "I had it all planned out," he said. "I knew how I was going to end it."

He recalls lying in bed with his pistol in his hand. "I just couldn't do it," he recalls. "I couldn't do it in front of my dog."

Paws for Purple Hearts -- founded in 2006 -- is a non-profit that trains and provides service dogs free of charge to veterans with physical disabilities and PTS. The organization paired Lintz with Niles, a 5-year-old, 100-pound chocolate lab, and the dog has been helping the veteran heal ever since.

"Service dogs are making the lives of wounded veterans better, and in some cases they're even saving lives," says Jeffrey Roy, president of the board of the Purple Heart Foundation.

For more information on Purple Heart recipients and how to help veterans, visit the Purple Heart Foundation.

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