Anyone with a service dog will attest to their loyalty, dedication, and love. At the Invictus Games this week, service dogs took their responsibilities to the next level, helping their owners compete and even taking some gold medals.
The Invictus Games, held in Orlando, Florida (May 8-12), give wounded, ill, and injured service men and women the opportunity to compete in sports such as powerlifting, swimming, and wheelchair basketball.
Many of the competitors have service dogs who accompanied them to the Games.
Christine Gauthier, who won a gold medal in heavyweight powerlifting, attributes her win to her service dog, Batak. "Without my dog, I wouldn't be here," she told the Orlando Sentinel.
These service dogs help their owners with conditions such anxiety, PTSD, and depression. The dogs also often aid with mobility, which is particularly important to many of these athletes.
Retired Special Operations Command Sergeant Leonard Anderson won a gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle and praised his service dog, Azza, for everything she does for him.
"Everything I do, everything I’ve ever competed in, everything ever since the injury has mostly been with her,” he told ABC News.
Throughout the games this week, the presence of service dogs was celebrated and recognized among competitors and audience members alike.
Learn more about the Invictus Games competitors and their service dogs below:
For more information about service dogs, click here