WUFT News

A Bark Sweeter Than The Bite: Man’s Best Friend Aids Veterans

By on December 16th, 2013

The Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs organization held its third annual Passing of the Leash event on Saturday, where disabled owners are officially paired with a service dog to help them with their specific needs.

Brian Duelz, an ex-member of the U.S. military, has dealt with night terrors since he retired in 2006. Up until a couple of months ago, Duelz hadn’t gotten a good night’s sleep. Duelz was paired with Remy, the German Shepard service dog, through the service dog organization,which is based in Williston, Fla.

“My main thing is my nightmares and other things of that nature,” Duelz said. “If I’m starting to have a night terror, Remy will jump up on the bed and start licking me until I wake up or enough to where I get out of that and can go back to sleep.”

The organization trains dogs and pairs them with the mentally and physically disabled. In the short amount of time he’s had Remy, Duelz has noticed a huge change in his ability to sleep.

 “(The service dogs) are just phenomenal,” he said. “I probably hadn’t had a good night of sleep since I retired in 2006, or even before then, but two months ago I actually slept for eight full hours.”

Carol Borden, executive director and founder of the Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, is happy to see all of the new owners and their dogs symbolically walk across the stage at the Passing of the Leash event. According to Borden, it’s difficult to get on the waiting list for a service dog, and the process itself involves a lot of paperwork and background checks.

“We have a very long waiting list, up to four years…” Borden said. “After we have the dog ready for them, the people will join the dogs for training and then they’ll start working together as a team.”

More than 10 owners were officially paired with their service dogs at the event on Saturday, and they all mentioned how much they’re looking forward to this new partnership in their speeches.

Borden said that seeing the owners walk across the stage with their service dogs during the Passing of the Leash event was very gratifying and emotional.

“Our main goal as an organization is to make sure that we try to help better the lives of the people who truly need it,” she said. “I’ve been doing this for three years now and every year all of the personal accounts of the new owners’ lives prior to pairing up with their dog really show me just how much of a difference we’re making.”


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

The charred remains of a Levy County home are all that remain following a fire that killed two people early Wednesday morning, August 20, 2014. (Virginia Hamrick/WUFT News)

Two People Die in Levy County Home Fire

Local law enforcement and the State Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating a mobile home fire that occurred in Levy County early Wednesday morning.  Lt. Scott Tummond of Levy County Sheriff’s Office said the Bronson Fire Department responded to calls at [...]


George Young, former owner of Mom's Kitchen, a local soul-food restaurant and gathering place, talks about the memories of the cultural landmark following its demolition.

Residents Collect Memories of Mom’s Kitchen

  Gainesville is saying goodbye to a neighborhood treasure following the demolition of the historic restaurant that served as a soul food and entertainment center for decades. Mom’s Kitchen, which was owned and operated by George Young and his family [...]


Claudia Aguilar, the mother of slain University of Florida student Christian Aguilar, cries with family in the family's private room at the Alachua County Criminal Justice Center following the guilty verdict of Pedro Bravo Friday, August 15, 2014.  Bravo was found guilty of first degree murder. (Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun/Pool)

Pictures: Pedro Bravo Guilty Verdict


Pedro Bravo stands while the jury exits the courtroom  during a break from closing statements by Assistant State Attorney Bill Ezzell during Bravo's murder trial at the Alachua County Criminal Justice Center Friday, August 15, 2014.  Bravo is accused of killing University of Florida student Christian Aguilar.  (Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun/Pool)

Pedro Bravo Found Guilty On All Seven Charges

After several hours of deliberation following a two-week trial, the jury has found Pedro Bravo guilty in the first-degree murder of his former high school friend and University of Florida student Christian Aguilar. Bravo, 20, was found guilty of first degree murder, [...]


Pedro Bravo is fingerprinted after being sentence to life in prison for the murder of Christian Aguilar in courtroom 1B of the Alachua County Criminal Justice Center Friday, August 15, 2014.   (Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun/Pool)

Pictures: Day Ten Of Pedro Bravo Trial


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments