Extraordinary Ordinaries: Veteran, dog paired through K9s for Warriors
LAND O' LAKES (FOX 13) - Like so many others, Bryan Foltz had a calling to serve our country after September 11th, 2001. Foltz joined the Army months later, in February of the following year.
"I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to be a part of something bigger than me," said Foltz.
While deployed in the Middle East, Foltz was driving a Humvee when he lost control and crashed. He was thrown from the truck, and ended up suffering a shattered leg and head injuries.
"A lot of issues spawned from it. PTSD has been prevalent. Going from being extremely active, to being inactive, has been difficult." Foltz said.
He then went on to describe the tragic impact injuries like these can have on him, and his fellow veterans.
"Twenty-two vets a day commit suicide, and that’s a scary number. We've lost more military numbers since 1999 than any combat engagement we have been involved in. That’s terrifying,” he said. “The stress and the magnitude of life outside of the military is daunting for us."
While receiving treatment at the VA, doctors suggested Foltz get a service dog to help with some of his lingering issues. That's when Foltz came upon an organization called "K9s for Warriors" based out of Northeast Florida.
"K9's for Warriors" is a non-profit that provides a service dog, along with a 21-day training program to those vets in need, vets like Foltz.
"I might be dead, God’s honest truth,” said Foltz. “I know of many vets whose dogs saved their lives.”
With a K9, this warrior has the strength and comradery as a civilian that he once had in the service. It allows him to stand tall because he’s not standing alone.
"Having somebody that will have your back is the hardest thing to find, and who will give their life for you. Dell [his service dog] creates that because he's there. He's always there," said Foltz.