Stray becomes savior for vet
by The Associated Press
November 12, 2012 12:00 AM | 531 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WARNER ROBINS — A few months back, Angel was nothing but a stray, down to skin and bones.

Now she’s living up to her name.

The dog found walking along a road in Hawkinsville is being trained as a rescue dog to help Keith Parker, an Iraq war veteran who wears two hearing aids and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder due to a roadside bomb explosion.

“This is a godsend,” he told The Macon Telegraph.

A friend of Tracy Johnson found the dog and got Johnson to nurse her back to health. Johnson planned to keep her until she found the dog was fond of climbing over her backyard fence. Johnson offered the dog for adoption and Parker heard about it. He had already spoken to Healing4Heroes, which specializes in training rescued dogs to help veterans. The group agreed to train Angel to be Parker’s service dog.

Johnson called Angel “a hero for a hero.”

Parker, who lives in Zebulon, picked up Angel at Johnson’s house in Warner Robins on Saturday. He and his two sons had already met the dog to make sure they were compatible.

He recalled the first time he went to see Angel and take her for a walk with his boys. He heard what sounded like gunfire, and that caused him to go into combat-training alert, scooping up his children in his arms.

“She walked down in front of me and started licking me in the face and nudging me,” he said. “I knew right then this dog was for me.”

Angel, an American bulldog mix, is still in training.

Parker has anxiety attacks around crowds of people. Angel will be trained to recognize an attack and take action, such as leading him away or blocking people from him without being aggressive.

Parker wears hearing aids in both ears. He said he can barely hear anything when he takes them out at night, but Angel can alert him if his sons, one of whom is autistic, get up.

“I think our journey together is going to be good for her, me and my son,” Parker said.
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