TAMPA (FOX 13) - The widow of "American Sniper," Chris Kyle has a new love - but the pair are working to gain awareness for an organization that helps veterans and the disabled all over the country.
But the new subject of Taya Kyle's interest is not of the human variety. He's a service dog named Norman and he's Taya's new companion.
Norman became part of Taya's family last year.
"I can't tell you what a gift that is, to have somebody or something that you know isn't going to be five feet away when you need them," she said.
Taya thought her world ended when her husband Chris Kyle was killed in 2013. He had served multiple tours of duty in Iraq as a Navy Seal Sniper. After his death, he became a household name as an American hero.
While the deep hole he left in her life will never be filled, Norman can now sense her sorrow and help her get past the worst times of grief and suffering.
"I thought, 'I am putting on such a good show and everybody can see that I'm just fine, but these dogs know when you aren't fine, when you are broken and when you need comfort," she recalled.
Taya realized she may need the special kind of help only a service animal can provide when a friend's service dog gravitated towards her in the time just after her husband's death. When she learned the dog's sense those who are hurting, she called Southeastern Guide Dogs.
Taya admits she was reluctant to ask for help from the Southeastern Guide Dogs, but she realized it was vital for her and her family to move forward.
"I knew the hesitations and how hard it was to take the step to tell people, 'I need this dog because I can't fix myself,' and that's for somebody who is that independent. That is a hard thing to deal with," said Suzy Wilburn.
Admission's Director Suzy Wilburn helped match Taya with Norman.
"He is that lovable golden retriever that wants to lay his head in his lap when he needs it, but when he wants to go play with the kids and fetch the ball, hes going to do that too," said Wilburn.
Norman now helps fill a deep void that can never be replaced, but it's one that can be eased.
"You'll probably never know the ripple effect that happens. You'll probably never know what kind of energy the dog brings to the family.... What kind of healing comes from these dogs," said Kyle.