From the first time he stepped paw into the FOX 7 Austin building, we always knew Tommy was meant for a special purpose as a Patriot Paws service dog. “They go through foundation, socialization, as well as the advanced cues,” said Patriot Paws dog trainer Cindy Killgore.
Tommy’s goal now is to find the right veteran to care for.
This week he has been tested with four possible matches.
“He’s done really well. He’s working really well for all four of the veterans we have here now. He’s doing everything they ask of him and he’s having fun doing it and they’re having fun with him,” said Cindy Sutton, another Patriot Paws dog trainer.
Stories like U.S. Army veteran Tyahna Pouncil‘s serve as a reminder of how the nonprofit organization helps those who gave up so much for our country. “When she first got here, she was very quiet, very nervous, no smiling whatsoever,” Sutton said.
“I was having meltdowns,” said Pouncil.
But Pouncil quickly learned a little puppy love can change everything.
“She just is having a blast with the dogs, so it’s made her really happy,” Sutton said.
“A dog can make you feel good,” said Pouncil.
After about two years of training, Patriot Paws service dogs have one final test before going home with a veteran. “We socialize the dogs, we study which dogs seem to work better with the veterans, and then we watch to see which dog gravitates to a certain veteran because we like the dog to pick the veteran,” Killgore said.
Friday, Pouncil and three other veteran’s lives will change forever as they find out which dog will help them get their independence back. “I’m excited and whatever dog I get I will be happy because ... it’s like a God send from above,” said Pouncil.