RENSSELAER, N.Y. – NEWS10 ABC viewers first met Corporal Jeremy Walton, an Iraq veteran lucky enough to be paired up with a service dog to help him cope with PTSD, over the summer.
It's been three months since the two joined forces, and the dog Alana, has made a difference in Jeremy's life. In just three short months, Corporal Walton says he's gained courage, energy, and wakes up with a smile.
"Waking up to that face every day, that will put a smile on any person," he says.
Side by side, Corporal Walton and Alana do everything together – even catching a movie.
Walton received the nearly 1-year-old Alana as part of the Shepherds
for Lost Sheep program.
He says she has given him a new view on life.
"I came back with nothing, you come back, I have a family but mentally it felt like I was empty," he says. "That sense of ‘I need to take care of something, I'm still responsible for something, I'm still wanted, and I'm still needed.'"
Walton returned state side after two tours in Iraq. He says last year, Veterans Day was just another day, but this year it feels better and meaningful.
"We both take care of each other, it's that bond," he says.
Alana comforts Jeremy when he's out, where he otherwise would have struggled from PTSD.
"Just that lick of the hand, that nudge, she'll sit at my leg and just kind of lean there," he explains.
They share more than just a leash; a vest Alana wears was made from Jeremy's old combat uniform. It's now covered with fitting honors.
"It's defiantly an honor for her as well as me,' he says.