Service dogs help to change lives for veterans

America's Vetdogs will be featured on the Today Show Sunday morning.

Michael DuBose lives in the Hamlet of Seneca Knolls in Onondaga County. After retiring from the Coast Guard in 1989, Michael lived a very modest life and kept to himself mostly.

He was diagnosed with PTSD and also has issues balancing after his time serving out country. This included two tours of duty to Vietnam.

After seeing a TV show which featured the program America's Vetdogs, Michael applied to have his very own service dog in 2010. His dog Jake helps him though daily life, going with him to everything from the grocery store, to the post office.

"If there was a loud noise I'd panic, or somebody come up behind me I'd panic, my concentration was so bad, I'd forget where I was... Oh where am I? I needed help with picking things up because my hands are pretty well shot," says DuBose.

America's Vetdogs gives free service dogs to approved veterans. They put roughly $50,000 into each dog. This service does not cost veterans like Michael anything. He only needs to take care of vet bills and food for Jake.

In addition to helping Michael on a day to day basis, Jake also improved his confidence by being able to get out of the house more often then he did before.

Michael says if it wasn't for Jake, he would not have had the courage to finally approach his future wife, Arline DuBose, the same year he got Jake.

"It's amazing, it's life changing. I knew Michael before he had Jake and he was just so sad and quiet and shy and reserved because of the PTSD. When he got Jake and the longer he's had him over the years, he's just totally different, totally different human being," says Arline.

America's Vetdogs will be featured on the Today Show at 8 o'clock Sunday morning. The Dubose's say this will give the group which impacts thousands of veterans exposure to other veterans who do not know about this service yet.

Michael says he was helped by the Syracuse Veterans Center when he was starting to look for a service dog.