Ricardo and Service Dog Weston

Ricardo served in both the Marines and the Army for 17 years, with a stint in between serving in the New York Police Department. Providing security as part of a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) unit during Operation Iraqi Freedom meant responding to many emergencies, and Ricardo returned home with PTSD and a traumatic brain injury. He was finding it difficult to relax or sleep, so one sleepless night he did some research online and learned about service dogs.

Now if Ricardo has a restless night, a wagging tail from a new friend named Westen will be there for him. “He’s very playful,” says Ricardo of his beautiful black Goldador. “When I wake up, I have somebody waiting for me, happy to see me.”

Back home, Ricardo’s wife and daughter are very active and Ricardo hopes Westen will help him join the family. “I don’t go out; I just stay in the house,” he says. “With Westen, I hope to get out and do more things like be able to go to a baseball game.”