BROOKSVILLE, Fla. — Veteran Ron Flaville is helping his fellow vets get back on their feet, with a little help from man's best friend.
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- K9 Partners for Patriots helping vets with service dogs
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Flaville, who served in both the Marines and Army, is the CEO of K9 Partners for Patriots, Inc., which is based in Brooksville.
His organization offers a free, 19-week program for veterans diagnosed with service-related disabilities, including traumatic brain injury, military sexual traume and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
"We actually teach each individual to train a dog to become their service animal," Flaville said. "For their specific disabilities."
Flaville deals with his on PTSD and credits his beloved service dog Sophia for much of his progress.
"When you start having anxiety attacks or outbursts of anger and things like that, your body naturally produces adrenaline," Flaville said. "The dogs can pick up on the scent of that adrenaline."
Flaville and others work with certified master trainer Mary Peter, who is the founder of K9 Partners For Patriots. And just like humans, the service dogs come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
Flaville said the goal is to make every day a good one for the vets in need.
"I still have my moments here and there," he said. "Thankfully, Sophia is still there if I do need her."
And he said save the hero talk.
"I'm not a hero," he said. "I'm just a bald guy that fell into something really good.
"And honestly it made such a difference in my life I want other veterans to feel that same thing."