LEESBURG, Ga. (WALB) - David Kelley describes his new K9 friend, Bert, as “a lifesaver.”
Kelley served almost 17 years in the Marine Corps but is now retired.
He was injured during active duty and has PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), but his new K9 friend Bert, helps makes things a lot better.
"It’s not that he’s a guardian dog, he’s just there for me, for my companionship, for my PTSD,” said Kelley.
Bert is a trained service dog from K9s for Warriors. The non-profit organization pairs veterans with PTSD and other military-related injuries with service dogs.
Bert and David met at the end of September at a K9s for Warriors facility in Florida. They spent some time together before recently coming home to Leesburg.
According to K9s for Warriors, over 700,000 post 9/11 veterans suffer from PTSD.
PTSD can include depression, panic attacks and insomnia.
Bert sleeps next to the Kelleys’ bed and is never far away.
“He wakes me up before I have a nightmare now. He alerts me to it and keeps me from having a panic attack or a nightmare and that helps me out with my sleep and helps me fall asleep by petting him," explained Kelley. “He lowers my blood pressure down and I was on roughly 24 medications and now I’m down to two a day and one as needed with his help by doing that. When we’re at home and he’s off his vest, he still wants to work. He’ll sit next to me on his bed or he’ll lay on his bed next to me 24/7.″
Bert also goes out in public with Kelley and his family. Kelley said he no longer feels the need to sit against a wall when out at a restaurant because he knows Bert always has his back.
Kelley said the only places Bert doesn’t go is hunting with him or to the bathroom. Otherwise, there is no limit to where this companionship will go.
You can learn more about K9s for Warriors by clicking here.