PALM CITY, Fla. - Around a home in Palm City, there is much more than a game of catch on the line. For Andrew Snow peace of mind has been hard to find. Two tours in Iraq left their mark. Over the past seven years Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder took over until something happened last December.
"He's my best buddy, we play together, sit and watch TV together," says Snow.
'He' is Humphrey who came running into his life. The service dog, complete with a vest and credentials, offers more than companionship. "Haven't been as depressed, more likely to go out," Snow adds.
That's precisely the reason Canines 4 Hope has made its way into the lives of people across America. It all began in the backyard of a Palm City home.
"We're very much a mom and pop operation," Jason DeVito said.
DeVito and his family never miss a step. Nor do his students. The certified dog trainer has about 12 K9s at a time training every day for five months to get them ready for work.
"The benefit for us is that we're able to train for a number of different disabilities ranging from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to children with special needs," says DeVito.
In fact, each one of the dogs has a mission. Anna the German Shepherd is headed for Michigan to help tackle another case of PTSD. Charlie the golden retriever will help a child live with autism. Sugar will alert its future owner when their blood sugar gets low.
However, the biggest treat of all isn't training them but rather watching what happens after they go to a new home.
"It's joyful for me. I look at Andrew and Humphrey together and it just brings a smile to my face. It makes our efforts as a family here all worth it," says DeVito.
Nothing can take away the bond that's created when the training time of the dogs is up and they go to work.
"I have responsibility to take care of him which in turn helps me take care of myself better," says Snow.
DeVito says a majority of the service dogs he trains are for those on the autism spectrum.
For more information log onto: www.canines4hope.com