In 2017, Hardy and his wife, Mirela, started the nonprofit U.S. Kennels. They rescue dogs from shelters and match them with veterans who need help from a devoted companion. They provide a year of training for veterans and their dogs at their facility, along with food, veterinary care and all the supplies they need, at no charge to the veterans.
The organization has matched around 50 veterans with canine companions, and they have a waiting list for more.
Sam Landis of Greenwood, Delaware, an Army veteran who has PTSD, has trained since August at U.S. Kennels with her mixed-breed dog, Bodhi, who she jokes was a “streetwalker” that ended up at the Wicomico County Humane Society shelter.
The dog keeps a protective bubble around her, she says, and “gets me to a better space.” He can predict her panic attacks and places his paws on her lap for gentle compression if she doesn’t feel well. Like a guardian angel, he never leaves her side. With help from Bodhi, Landis said, her world is expanding and becoming a less frightening place.
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