Dog changes life for local Marine

Sunday, July 6, 2014
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A K-9 companion will help one local Marine find some peace of mind.

HOUSTON -- It may be July 5th, but today marks a new type of independence for a local Marine. Through the help of a local non-profit, he's getting some much needed help in the form of a four legged friend.

"Words can't even explain how grateful we are for your service. So on behalf of pets for vets I give you Valor," said Pets for Vets volunteer.

"Hi buddy. Thank you. Thank you," said veteran Ernie Baker.

Baker, a 10-year veteran of the Marines, now has a brand new companion named Valor.

"I found when I had a dog in the past that I was able to sleep a little better. I guess because he's always on alert, if you look at this dog, he'll always be on alert, he'd scare anybody off," said Baker.

Baker suffers from PTSD. He joined the Marines eight days before 9/11.

"In 2003, I found myself in Iraq with the First Batallion, Fifth Marines. Went back to Iraq in 2004 to Fallujah," Baker said.

But now with the help of a group called, Pets for Vets, Baker can rest easier.

"We're fortunate today to have a lot of structure, a lot of support for the vets who are getting out. One example is Pets for Vets," said Baker.

Valor is a rescue dog, a two-year of Belgian Malinois.

"When we got him out of the Dallas shelter, he was very sick and he needed to be nursed back to health first before we could start his training," said Suzy Olsen with Pets for Vets.

He went through that training with the Nelson family. They fostered him, making him a temporary part of their family.

"The day that a match occurs is a very bitter sweet is a very bitter sweet moment for our family," said Diane Foster.

They know Valor is going to a good home, perfect for the task at hand.

"Malinois' are very curious dogs. They're high energy. They have a sweetness about them though that is so endearing," Foster said.

Like our military, Pets for Vets is all volunteers. They match a veteran with a companion who can keep watch, putting a Marine's mind at ease.