Daniel Estrella–Soto is currently in the home training portion of our Veteran Dog Program with his service dog in training Drifter. He began the program in November of 2018 and we anticipate he will graduate early this spring. Daniel resides in Syracuse with his wife Evelyn. He is the father of seven, has three granddaughters and a great grandson. Daniel comes from a proud military family with two grandfathers who served our country.
Daniel is an E-4 Specialist Veteran of the United States Army and served from 1979 – 1985. He was an Armor Crewman and during his military career he was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, Fort Stewart, Georgia, Fort Knox, Kentucky, and Kirchgoens, Germany. He is the recipient of the Army Service Ribbon along with the Rifle Auto, Pistol, Sharp Shooter and Driver Tank Medals.
Since Drifter completed his individual training at Certified Canine Services and went home with Daniel in December, they have been working hard on their training lessons together and attending scheduled appointments with Neil to get ready for their Good Canine Certification Test and graduation from our program.
Daniel shared that Drifter has helped him cope with his post-traumatic stress, allowed him to get out more and helped with his mental therapy. He has found that by being responsible for caring for Drifter, he is more active and feels better on a daily basis than in the past. He considers Drifter to be a member of his family and he loves him very much. During a recent field training lesson, it was very apparent that Daniel and Drifter have developed a wonderful bond with each other.
Daniel is very active in his church and volunteering. Once he and Drifter graduate from the Victory For Vets Veteran Dog Program, he plans to visit Children Cancer Hospitals and Nursing Homes with him. He hopes that Drifter will not only be source of comfort and support for him, but that he will also bring some comfort to sick children and the elderly.