The night terrors started soon after the IED attack in Iraq in 2006. Wil, a retired Mustang Naval Aviator and Intelligence Officer who served multiple combat tours, was the only one who survived the blast. “I was also the only one either without children or unmarried. I had a lot of guilt associated with that. I didn’t feel like I deserved to be alive.”

Wil didn’t think he deserved a service dog, either. At the very least, he thought others were more deserving. “I have a family and a good job. But functionally, things were going south,” said Wil, who struggled with symptoms of traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress.

With the support of his doctors and his family, Wil finally decided to make the leap, and this September, he met his service dog, Typhoon. Sixteen years after surviving an IED blast, Wil doesn’t remember much of that day. Yet it will always stay with him.

“Not every decision is life or death, but I’ve been treating it like is,” Wil said. “I’m just so thankful for an organization like this. We’re fighting the same fight. And now I have this furry battle buddy by my side.”