Marine Veteran: “My service dog Amos has changed my life.”


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When Veteran Anthony Mazzone first met his service dog, it was emotional. “It was a tear jerker when I first met Amos and learned what he already knew the first day.”

Mazzone served eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps in an Infantry Battalion and has a hard time getting around. He walks with a cane due to a leg injury, wears braces and needs assistance with stairs and uneven grounds.

At his VA Medical Center in Albany, N.Y. Dr. Frank Lore and Jennifer Bourque (Prosthetics Department) felt a service dog was the best option to help with his disabilities.

“They both made the process stress free and answered all my “what-if” questions. Within a couple of weeks I received an approval from VA Central Office.

Trained with Dogs for Two Weeks

“I stayed on campus at America’s Vet Dogs in Smithtown, New York. I was in a class of 11 other Veterans and we met and learned our dog’s commands for two weeks. The Instructors conducted a very thorough class.

Veteran Anthony Mazzone first met his service dog

Amos and Marine Veteran Anthony Mazzone

“It’s amazing how much of people’s time and money is invested in these dogs and when we receive them they are trained and certified to mitigate our disabilities.”

Amos assists Mazzone in walking up and down stairs by his counter-balance harness. He turns on and off the lights in his home. “He braces my weight when I stand up from a chair. He brings me any item that I command him to do. He carries shopping bags for me. He provides me confidence wherever we are. We can push through.

“At times he knows that I want my braces brought to me prior to me giving the command, ha!ha! It’s all good!”

Mazzone is grateful to Joyce Edmondson, VA Service Dog Program Manager, for being “personable, professional, and listening to all my concerns and taking the necessary actions.”

Motivation to Conquer New Challenges

“I’m consistently receiving positive feedback from my family, friends, and colleagues how Amos has changed my life. Amos has given me motivation to conquer new unforeseen challenges. He is my new partner who assists me with anything I need done but he does it with excitement, which is two fold. My life has been regained.”

Mazzone is known as the Service Dog Ambassador at his VA facility, his neighborhood and when he attends Veteran events and meetings.

“I was the first employee to have a Service Dog so there were a lot of questions and concerns my colleagues had, understandably. So I focused on showing them how Amos would make me a stronger colleague. It was a new challenge for the facility and myself but Amos has performed wonderfully.”

Veteran service dog

Veteran service dog

Mazzone is the administrative assistant for Community Care and Health Information Management. “We have an exceptional team that works hard and assists each other when necessary to achieve “mission accomplished.”

Mazzone, who loves to cook, especially Italian food, is a member of the Marine Corps League, American Legion and Disabled American Veterans in the Albany, New York, area.

More information Here:

What is the difference in a Service Dog and a Guide Dog? How do I get a service dog?

 

Author

Hans Petersen

Comments

  1. Dennis Wilson    

    I can understand how they feel I was having trouble with memory and and anger when I thought I needed help but the VA is 30 miles from me and I would have to go 3 times a week to try and get me to cope until the next time I came in. I asked about a service dog that would help me with depression because I have the knowledge of doing just about anything and having some bad problems with my body it was very hard for to do what I enjoyed doing. I love helping others and 5 years ago I started up a thing where I go to senior citizen centers and nursing homes and would be given things like walkers wheelchairs and other mobility items and then I would take them home and go through the items and repair them to a good working item and then I would post them on the internet to people who needed them. The only thing I asked was to please bring it back when they no longer needed the item. it did 3 things, it helped places who had a stockpile of things, it kept me busy and someone who couldn’t afford some thing got it. But my depression got worse and I needed help. I read a story about how Veterans got help from dogs that covered a large area of problems. So I started looking into it but no one knew where to go or who to call. finally I saw someone with a service dog at the VA and asked all the questions I could and within 2 weeks I got a list of things I needed to do to get a service dog. It took about 3 months but I got in with an organization that Vet’s are taught how to train a dog to be their dog to be a service dog and without cost to the Vet.I have been in training with my dog for about 1 1/2 years and besides my wife I have never seen any one or anything show their love as much as Coda. He has to be with me 24/7 and when he is scared he comes to me and when I’m having problems he is right there for me to hug or have me pet him that helps me over come my anger problems. when people ask me about Coda I tell them that he is a wonderful person that loves me and that he is in training to be a service dog. Then I saw something that bothered me when young child was standing there crying in front of his house. I was on my electric scooter and we went up to the child and I asked what the problem was. The child didn’t know me and was shy so I asked if he would like to pet my dog and he did and then I asked if he wanted to give him a treat and they did. then the child talked to me and told me about his best friend was moving away and sense that time when I take Coda for a long walk I make sure that I go by the child’s house and am greeted by several other kids who come and pet Coda. sense then I go to parks and other places and if I see a child crying I do the same thing. I let Coda break the ice and never try to make them come to me its all Coda and I stay in the back ground. I tell them about Coda and that he is in training and tell them about what service dog does and what he is for.
    Dennis

    1. Andrea Geas    

      Dennis I think you are doing a Spectacular thing helping others with Coda, along with coming out of your shell yourself. Congratulations on a long road traveled. Great work.. Andrea Geas..

  2. Lou J Apa    

    Love God’s canine creations who are a friend to man!

  3. Carol Gillick    

    In my estimation, a dog’s love for his master is a lot like God’s love for us…..unconditional!!!!

  4. Victor Birdsong    

    My Too Much Combat Service Canine Kate is a positive influence on people wherever she goes. For this Marine ,she detects the emission of cortisol and gives me a heads up. This way I can head home and avoid the negative feelings that follow when your mind and body are going full speed. Kate is my second PTSD Service Canine, both were trained by me in the Everglades ,away from distractions.

  5. Grace Baber    

    Thanks for penning such a great article about service dogs. They’re absolutely amazing.

  6. Jeff Eaves    

    My name is Jeff Eaves and i had a German Shepherd who helped me in my everyday life. I talked to a Veteran at the VA in Temple TX in regards to his service dog. He gave me a number to call. I called and talked to the trainer and explained that i had a dog who helped me in all facets of my life. He asked me what Cracker (my white German Shepherd) did for me. I told him when i hurt, get depressed, cry, or just loose it that Cracker comes and love’s on me, he comforts me, stayes with me and nurtures me. He said that was what a services dog does. And is supposed to do. I inquired about training him and the costs. I was told it was $350.00. I told him that i really wouldn’t afford that much money and he replied why would you want to pay me for training your dog when he does exactly what a service dog does. I talked to my wife about going ahead a paying him to have Cracker certified and to get a certificate so as to take him with me so as not to be denied to place that normally will not allow dog’s. She talked me out of it because her credit cards are more important. We spit up and when i tried to get my dog she wouldn’t allow me to get him and called the police on me. The police told me he would not give him to me and made me leave. I explained to him that Cracker was my dog and i bought him in 2008 for A $350.00 and the police to me she has him and he would not give him to me. So i went to the county court house and talked to the judge. He explaine to me that he would call and talk to the police and to her. And in the end the judge and Milam police told me that they would not let me get my dog. Is there anybody who helps people get back their Dog’s or as i put it Service Dogs even though I didnt have him trained. Looking back i see that she didn’t want him trained so she could keep him. I need my Service Dog and to me and my life Cracker is exactly that. If anybody can help me i would appreciate it very much. Thanks for listening.

  7. Dave    

    Too many pet owners are jumping on this ‘service dog’ thing, and bringing dogs into stores where they contaminate the produce. These people are doing this for attention. Anyone can get a service pooch pouch with flashing lights and siren for their dog on Ebay. The only legit excuse for needing a dog is if your blind in my opinion.

  8. Dog Lover    

    Thanks for your service, Anthony and Amos – probably why you make such a good team.

    I love reading stories with a positive theme like this, but I can’t help wonder if Vets are frustrated/skeptical (initially) when they’re in rough shape, searching for answers, and doctors suggest…a dog.

  9. liz    

    I enjoyed reading your stories. I am also saddened…I have been waiting over a year, and been told it will be probably end of this year before any Veteran receives a dog. I see them requesting Mock Veterans on Utube last December and it breaks my heart thinking soon I’ll be getting that call after that training; so I call and leave a message and guess what? I don’t even get a call back. They advertise the average cost for their Service dogs is $2,500.00 (free for Vets)-so I’m guessing; we don’t get priority since they only had a total 105 students in 2015 and the average cost of tuition for a 9 month degree is greater than $10,000.00. They also received Veteran Financial Aid in excess of $54,632.00 for 1 financial year. Yet….when a Veteran applies to their school they only offer them 10% off their program course???
    I won’t reveal their program, I am still hoping I can receive a fur baby to help me cope, soon.

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