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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A local veteran got quite a surprise in South Philadelphia Friday. It was all thanks to New Hope Assistance Dogs, a charity that provides service dogs to veterans and law enforcement officers.
Steve Staub walked into a big surprise Friday.
“My buddy, Mike, told me we were gonna have a fun time, hang out with other veterans and here I am,” Staub said.
Announced by former Flyer Jeremy Roenick, the eight-year Army veteran is the recipient of Brax, a service dog from New Hope, a program matching service members dealing with PTSD and other ailments with their new furry friends.
“Walked through the door and saw everybody lined up. It was very moving,” Staub said.
Each dog that goes through the program is trained for two years while being matched with an owner.
Once trained, the two can begin their lives together.
“A deformed arm or your leg’s missing, those are easily noticed, whereas PTSD and Bipolar are not,” Joe Rafferty said.
Rafferty owns Loki. The three-year-old German Sheppard helped the former sergeant with the Bucks County Sheriff Department pull his life together after PTSD and alcohol tried to tear it apart.
“Now he’s my best friend. He can fly on a plane, he goes to the supermarket with me. Very well trained,” Rafferty said.
For Staub, a father of two, he’ll now continue to heal.
“It’s amazing I can’t really — It’s hard for me to believe people would do this for someone they don’t know, but I’m very grateful,” Staub said.