There’s a reason dogs are referred to as “man’s best friend.” They live to please their ‘owners,’ are enthusiastic about belly rubs and are quick to offer unconditional love whenever an opportunity is offered. It’s this type of affection and support that 92-year-old veteran Annabelle Weiss needed in 2013, and some would say adopting Joe, a golden labrador, changed her life.
92-year-old veteran Annabelle Weiss and her service dog Joe are simply inseparable.
“He changed my life, he really did… Without him I would be at the house a lot. Now people call me and I’m never home!”
At the age of 20, Weiss enlisted in the US Marines. She served there for two years as a driver and plane engine inspector.
The woman was discharged in 1946 and started working as a nurse.
Eventually, she got a thyroid cancer, but managed to win the battle against the disease.
Having felt like she had experienced all the world had to offer, the senior decided in 2013 that she was lonely and needed a companion.
Weiss ended up adopting Joe, a yellow Labrador who, according to her, is willing to “follow me to the end of the Earth.”
The Lindenhurst, New York, resident relies on Joe to bring her items that are dropped, to open and close doors, and to brace her when she needs to get out of a chair or walk up or down stairs.
Though she’s now 92-years-old, Weiss is still one tough Marine. She takes pleasure in driving herself to her and Joe’s favorite diner and, of course, the library.
Joe was raised by America’s VetDogs, an organization that pairs veterans in need with trained service animals.
America’s VetDogs launched in 2003 as a project of the Guide Dog Foundation. In 2006, it became a separate corporation to provide enhanced mobility and renewed independence to veterans, active-duty service members, and first responders with disabilities, allowing them to once again live with pride and self-reliance.
Puppies in training.
DIt costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog; however, all of VetDogs’ services are provided at no charge to the individual. Funding comes from the generosity of individuals, corporations, foundations, businesses, and service and fraternal clubs.
With an assistance dog from America's VetDogs by their side, veterans are never alone. With their courage and determination, these remarkable dogs reconnect vets all to the highest form of freedom there is: the freedom to experience the world around in any way they choose, and to live without boundaries.
A service dog instructor working with a black Labrador service dog.
Each of these service dogs is a super hero!!!
Thank you for making our lives easier and way more beautiful, dear animal friends!