“I wanted to join the Army when I was a little boy. My parents were very involved in the American Legion, and I always looked up to the men and women in uniform. I served from 2002 to 2007 as an infantryman and deployed twice to Iraq. Ten months into my second 12-month tour, I was shot by a sniper in the face and lost my right eye. Luckily, he was a little off on his aim.
“I spent months at Walter Reed recovering. In a way, I’m still recovering. Over the years, I tried therapy groups, programs for wounded Veterans, all kinds of different things to help me cope. I always thought about a service dog, but I never really thought I’d have one. Then it got to a point in my life where I couldn’t really deal with the stress anymore.
“I was really hesitant. Will this really be it? Or am I going to have to keep searching for something to help me cope? When I met Monsoon, the first thing he did was run up to me and kiss my face. I was just filled with joy. I finally knew I was going to be OK.”