Paws for Purple Hearts providing service dogs for wounded vets - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Paws for Purple Hearts helping provide service dogs for wounded veterans

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Without speaking a word, a three-year-old Black Lab named Yoko is comforting her master. Not just a master, but Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Rich Simonsen.

While deployed, Simonsen had to photograph ugly war scenes.

"Had to take pictures of some things I'd rather not see," he says.

He had nightmares and physical injuries too.

"I was within 25 meters of four improvised explosive devices," Simonsen says. "Directly hit by one of those."

He earned a Purple Heart, but a head injury meant he couldn't concentrate or multi-task and had headaches every day.

He also has post-traumatic stress disorder. He was having trouble getting through each day. Then along came a loyal Lab.

Yoko trained several years through a group called Paws for Purple Hearts. She graduated as a service dog. She is helping to restore Simonsen's confidence speaking to others.

At a holiday luncheon, she stays close. Yoko has changed Simonsen's life and proven some heroes don't have to say a word.


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