HOUSTON – Timothy Stroud is a former combat medic who knows just how tough it can be for some veterans to transition back to normal, everyday life after serving abroad.
That is why he has made it his mission to help veterans in need, one service pup at a time.
Stroud has been working with Colton the service dog for about five years now. Colton is trained to pick up any item, bring it to its owner.
“Imagine we’re talking and I drop my phone. Colton has been trained to bring me any item that I drop,” said Stroud “They help out with mobility, with stress, and so many things in life. People ask me how many tricks can he do? Zero! He doesn’t do tricks. He only does tasks and he does over 100.”
Colten is also there for emotional support.
“If someone’s stress is at a nine or a ten just being around Colton is going to lower it to a 5 or a 4,” said Stroud.
Colton is part of a program through the Easter Seals of Greater Houston. There are 13 different programs designed to help veterans in need. One of them is their service dog initiative.
“We train up to two service dogs per year,” said Stroud. “We take care of all the medical, all of the training, and we gift (the dog) to a veteran so that is going to bless their lives.”
Stroud says service dogs will help veterans push through any setbacks or failures in life. That means less stress and less medication and more happiness.
“When we get out of the military and we transition into civilian culture, we are taught true success is going to be a huge bank account, a lot of toys, and all these great things and we find out that’s not true,” Stroud said. “You see the smiles in their faces not only the veterans but their family members to where they can take that step and get back on the road to recovery.”
Normally it would cost $40,000 to get a dog trained at this level but because of help from other organizations, they are able to help a veteran in need for about $20,000.
Visit Eastersealshouston.org for more information or to donate to the cause.