Michael Loetz was the first Veteran approved for our program in the early summer of 2018. He resides in Canastota NY with his husband Jeff and his service dog Lucy. Michael served in the United States Army for 25 years. He did two tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan and received the Bronze Star medal of Valor for saving the life of an Afghan truck driver in 2007. He retired from the Army in 2012.
Michael returned home with a broken back and chronic Post Traumatic Stress. Over the last few years, he has been in and out of in-patient therapy, taking more than 30 pills a day and struggling with Agoraphobia – a fear of leaving his home.
Michael shared with us that there are two basic transitions a soldier goes through when he returns from war. The first is becoming a civilian again and the second is coming to terms with what they have been through. When he started in the Victory For Vets Dog Program, his goal was to regain control of his life and he hoped that a service dog would help him focus and become more interactive in the community.
Michael had never owned a dog before and never thought he would. When he met Lucy for the first time, he fell immediately in love with her. Working with Lucy through the training process, he found that he was exercising more, taking better care of himself, was more productive and was able to go places he never felt comfortable going before.
After training at home with Lucy, along with scheduled training sessions with the trainers both at Certified Canine Services and out in the community, Michael and Lucy successfully passed the Good Canine Citizen Test and graduated from our Service Dog Program on November 27, 2018.
Lucy is now Michael’s constant companion as he enjoys life to the fullest, no longer relying on pills to get him through each day (he currently only takes 3 pills a day!), and able to interact in the community and with family and friends.