There is no doubt that dogs provide us with numerous benefits. They make us healthier, happier, and probably better people, too. For those with service dogs, the benefit of the relationship is life-changing. Just ask Marine Veteran Cole Lyle.
Lyle was recently highlighted by Victoria Taft in an article for the Independent Journal Review where he shared his experience with his service dog, Kaya, and the actions he now takes to help other veterans in need (Read her full article here).
After joining the Marines at 18, Lyle served in Afghanistan. When he came home in 2011, he was determined to go to college and get an education. School was very difficult, however, as Lyle struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and medications and counseling weren't helping.
Lyle's friend suggested he get a service dog and after a lengthy process, Lyle had Kaya. Kaya is a German Shepherd who has enabled Lyle to push forward.
"Kaya is a reassuring presence," Lyle said. "She gave me a sense of purpose. It got to the point where there was no reason for me to get out of bed. I wasn't in school, didn't have a job. But I needed to grow out of PTS. I call it 'post traumatic growth."
With Kaya by his side, Lyle attended and completed his political science degree at Texas A&M University. Now, the pair work on Capitol Hill to lobby for the PAWS Act (Puppies Assisting Wounded Service Members). The bill calls for the Veterans Administration to include service dogs as part of veterans benefits.
From personal experience, Lyle knows the incredible benefits having a service dog can provide and he wants to give other veterans the same opportunities.
"Service dog can provide 75% reduction in suicide ideation and a reduction in opiate use. There are no negatives with service dogs," he said.
With the support of his University, Lyle hopes to continue lobbying and go to law school. And Kaya, of course, will be right there by his side.
See more of Kaya and Cole Lyle in the video below. And check out Kaya's Facebook page!