Army amputee veteran surprised with new service dog

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania -- A Friday night fundraiser was for humans and canines, but these dogs aren't just any dogs.

They're service dogs trained to help veterans and law enforcement with PTSD and other disabilities.

"We had a bond immediately," said Joseph Rafferty.

They're trained by New Hope Assistance Dogs and are free for veterans.

"Things you don't even think of just fall into place that they help them with," said Tammy Rogers with New Hope Assistance Dogs. "It's awesome seeing the progress and the transformation of the guys."

Steve Staub thought he was just hanging out with friends. Instead, he got the service dog he applied for.

Staub not only served eight years in the Army, he's also an amputee and a father of two.

Brax has been specially trained to help compensate.

"With missing his arm, carrying bags if he drops a bag, (Brax) can help pick up the bag," said Rogers.

Now they're just two friends meeting for the first time, looking forward to a new future together.

"Maybe I'll be able to lean on him a little more instead of having to lean on the people who are supposed to count on me," said Staub.

"It's hard for me to believe that people would come together to do something like this for someone they don't know. It doesn't really make sense to me. But I'm very grateful."
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.