LAKE WALES (FOX 13) - Could dogs be the best medicine for veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? If you saw what was happening at the American Legion Post in Lake Wales every Thursday afternoon, you would think so.
"I just want to be able to have something that allows the veteran to live a normal life, and not have to wait a long time," says Marvin Desselle." Desselle, a veteran with PTSD himself, says the normal wait time for a veteran to get a service dog is three to five years. So Desselle had other plans.
"I had the love for wanting to train them (dogs), I knew how to train mine," explains Desselle. "I had been working with dogs my whole life and now I had all the pieces put together." So he decided to help other veterans get service dogs quicker. He transforms everyday dogs into certified service dogs in just 30 days.
"It's a blessing, it really is," says Mike Spottswood, a veteran who recently had his dog trained by Desselle. "I was in the marine recon unit in Vietnam. You come back to the real world and you don't have that team any more, but these dogs are almost like your combat buddy. They're watching your back, you watch their back."
Desselle says he feels great being able to help veterans and give back. "It gives them back some of their freedom that they deserve to have."