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.
“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.”
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.
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