Service dogs play a vital role in keeping our veteran’s mentally (and physically) healthy. They can also help with aging, and have many other benefits besides the simple companionship angle.
Annabelle Weiss was 20 when she was enlisted in the US Marines. She worked as a plane engine inspector and a driver. She later worked as a nurse after she was discharged in 1946. She was later diagnosed with thyroid cancer, which she survived.
In 2013, Annabelle was informed about America’s Vetdogs, which is a program that gets veterans trained service animals. That’s when she met Joe, the yellow labrador. Now, Weiss and Joe live in Long Island, and do everything together. It’s just them living together, doing everything together and enjoying each other’s company. Before Joe came along, Annabelle would leave the house only when absolutely necessary – but now, her mobility and her quality of life has been increased since Joe’s entrance into her life.
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Joe has many talents within their little household. He can open drawers, pick up things that have fallen, fetch the phone, opens and closes doors, and even helps to brace Weiss as she gets up from chairs or going up the stairs. Their usual habit is to spend the morning together at home, and then in the afternoon they go out to explore the town and accomplish any errands that need to be taken care of. Joe rides in the back of the car as his devoted owner drives, and then when they are out of the house, he wears his vest proudly as he patrols before Weiss.
One of the pair’s favorite things to do together is go to the library to pick out new books to read, and to attend their reading club meetings. While Weiss checks out her new reads, Joe props up on the counter with his paws. There is even a Veteran’s memorial with Weiss’s name on it. After the library is lunch. Joe hangs out under the table, taking another nap while Annabelle enjoys eating lunch at their favorite diner. They eat there once or twice a week, and are known by the staff. Joe enjoys being a regular. They then go to Joe’s favorite park, so that he can look at the birds. They usually visit the park every day!
Weiss believes that Joe is the son she never had. Their love for each other is absolutely precious.