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'This Is Like Having A Veteran With Me': Organization That Trains Service Dogs Delivers One To Local Vet

UNIONTOWN, Pa. (KDKA) - Morgan is an English lab specifically trained to be at the side of former Marine and Afghanistan war vet Brandon Rumbaugh at all times to help make his life better in mind and body.

"She is the most amazing dog I've ever known, hands down," says Rumbaugh.

Morgan's arrival comes by way of the Rescue 22 Foundation. This organization trains and delivers service dogs to veterans who qualify.

"We really focus our efforts on veterans with PTSD, mobility issues or other medical complex cases that are combat-related," says Angela Conner with the foundation. "The data shows 100 percent that these dogs work for for the health and well-being for the veteran."

veteran and service dog
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Training these dogs to do the amazing things they do takes hundreds and hundreds of hours. Former Army ranger and combat veteran Erik Innis is Rescue 22's co-founder, head trainer and the key, according to Innis, is to get inside the dog's head.

"How does a dog like Morgan think? How does she process information? We find that out then we run with it," Innis says.

But these dogs, while helping physically, become incredible four-legged counselors. Rescue 22's name comes from the estimated number of veterans who take their lives every day. For many, these dogs are no different than someone else who's been there, saw a lot and won't judge.

"It's completely outside of the realm of family and friends. This is like having a veteran with me -- someone who gets it."

For more information about Rescue 22, you can visit their website.

"Donations are a fabulous thing and they're saving lives. That's the bottom line."

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