We here in the USA enjoy freedoms people elsewhere can only dream of. But our freedom comes at a price, and it’s paid by the brave men and women of our armed forces who selflessly put themselves in the service of the rest of us. They protect the rights and freedoms of people who can’t protect themselves. For the sake of a better world, they leave the comforts of home, friends, and family to sacrifice life and limb. Sometimes, they come home with deep, hidden scars in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sergeant First Class Brian Field came home with both physical and mental injuries that will stay with him his whole life. While serving in Afghanistan, Brian was injured in an IED explosion. Brian not only lost both of his legs, but he also developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Though he made it home, things were not easy for him. He had to learn to walk again, using prosthetics that took the place of the legs he had lost. His days spent managing the pain caused by his injuries, prosthetics, and mental scarring. Even simple tasks that we take for granted – like grocery shopping – became a challenge for him as he fought his PTSD.
Like many other veterans, Brian found that his life could be made better with the help of a service dog. In 2010, he was paired with his first Patriot PAWS Service Dog, Justice – a beautiful yellow Labrador Retriever who would assist in mitigating daily struggles and be a loyal friend. Justice helped Brian in maintaining his balance and provided physical support when going up and down stairs. He created a safety barrier while in public, woke him from night terrors, and helped to calm Brian’s hypervigilance to prevent additional stress and anxiety.
Unfortunately, our dogs’ lives are short. After nine faithful years of service to Brian, Justice sadly passed away. Not only did Brian lose a friend, but he realized in his time of mourning and healing how much independence and happiness Justice had truly given back to him. Two-and-a-half years after saying goodbye to Justice, Brian felt the time was right in his heart to welcome a new service dog in his life.
A service dog is a huge help to a wounded veteran like SFC Field but raising and training pups for service is costly. Trained service dogs like Justice cost thousands of dollars to obtain. Fortunately, Patriot PAWS never asks veterans to pay for a dog. Through donations, they can raise and train smart, loyal dogs that help veterans through daily challenges, and they are given free of charge to those in need.
This Memorial Day iHeartDogs and Greater Good Charities are honoring Brian for his service by completely funding his new service dog through Pets and Vets – and you can join in giving this life-changing gift! When you buy anything from the Pets and Vets collection in the iHeartDogs store, a portion of the proceeds goes to support Pets and Vets, which matches shelter or service dogs like Justice with veterans to make their lives better. In some cases, you could be saving a life. Right now, your purchases from the Pets and Vets collection will help fund a new best friend for Brian – or, you could donate directly to the cause!
Can’t donate? You can still help by sharing this post with your friends to help us get Brian’s story out.
Your purchases from the iHeartDogs store could be comfort for a shelter dog in the form of a warm blanket, food for a hungry belly, or in this case – a lifeline for a veteran like SFC Brian Field.