Local nonprofit helping veterans re-adjust to civilian life with service dogs

Heart of the High Plains

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — When our veterans return home from serving overseas, it can sometimes be difficult for them to re-adjust to civilian life. A local nonprofit is helping them do just that, with the help of service dogs.

“It is a long process at training but the payoff of the dogs and the veterans together, it’s worth it,” said Durwood “Pete” Rosser.

Rosser served as a radioman in the Navy for six years. Ever since his return, Rosser had a little bit of a tough time re-acclimating to life outside the military.

“I wouldn’t go around the mall. I wouldn’t go around crowded places. I always had to have my back to the wall, which I still do when I go to restaurants or anything,” said Rosser.

After a recommendation from a friend, Rosser and his dog, Bolt, then discovered Hope Lives Here, a non-profit that provides veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with services dogs or helps train the dogs they already have.

“If I’m feeling bad somewhere else, he’ll get up and act like he knows what’s wrong and kindly wants you to pet him, and then you forget about it. He’s kind of a mental health doctor, I would say,” said Rosser.

“Our motto is ‘Healing heroes two at a time,'” said Hope Live Here Founder, Brooke Schneider.

Schneider founded Hope Lives Here back in 2014, having been diagnosed with PTSD in 2003.

“Shortly after that, I rescued a dog named Harley and really, in the end, it was Harley that rescued me. He passed away suddenly in 2011. I really struggled to make sense of his death, but I wanted to use our story to help others,” said Schneider.

Since it’s founding, Schneider said they have helped out around 35 veterans, including Rosser, who does not know where he’d be without his trusted companion, Bolt.

“It’s been a very humbling experience and I’m very proud of the organization, but most of all, I’m proud of our veterans for coming to us for help because that’s not a very easy thing to do,” said Schneider.

Schneider said that at the moment they only have two employees but plan on hiring some more soon.


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