Edwin proudly served his country in the US Marine Corp for 13 years but when he returned home from the Middle East, the battle was far from over. Ravaged by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Edwin shared that he …”felt defeated and alone in the world and was always looking over my shoulders
thinking that I was back in the war. I was skeptical of everyone and everything and always wondering why people would just want to be around me.” Named by a group of Kindergarten students, Biscuit would make Edwin’s battle easier. “Since Biscuit has come into my life it was like a switch came on and something has changed in me…I am finally going out and talking to strangers and enjoying my conversations. Biscuit has given me the confidence to live the life I always dreamed of.” Shortly after receiving Biscuit, Edwin found the strength and courage to complete the transition from military life to civilian life. Now a graduate of the International Academy of Design and Technology and Full Sail University, Edwin is traveling the world with Biscuit by his side as he prepares to launch a new career in his chosen field.
For Joe lost his leg in Iraq. Along with facing difficulty in balance and mobility, there were other problems imposed upon him mentally and emotionally. However, once Joe met Chico, limitations that seemed insurmountable turned into limitless opportunities. Joe found his passion in comedy and motivational speaking. With Chico by his side, he inspires and makes people laugh across the country. “I couldn’t image how much and how quickly Chico has helped me to negotiate pain, either by activity or just distracting me from my pain. He is an incredible part of my life and I’m so happy to have him.”
Mike proudly served in the US Marine Corp where he exemplified the courage, honor and commitment that is a hallmark of a Marine. When we first met Mike, we were impressed by his ability to overcome a tragic accident that caused the loss of his left eye and left him with a Traumatic Brain Injury. The injury creates many challenges for Mike including balance problems, short term memory loss and some loss of gross motor skills. Pumpkin’s job is to help alleviate Mike’s symptoms and she completes her tasks with the utmost care for Mike. According to his parents, “Mike has received something he has not had since he sustained his injury: a best friend who loves him unconditionally. Pumpkin is always there for him and brings him more joy and happiness than he has had in a long time. She has brought a new dimension to Mike’s life and has made a tremendous difference in so many ways.”
Javier enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corp in 2004. In 2005 he was assigned to the 1st Battalion 8th Marines Weapons Company. By 2009 he had served multiple deployments in various units, serving in the most dangerous areas of Lebanon, Iraq and Bahrain. Now living in Tampa with his family and PAWS service dog Lola, Javier said: “Before I received Lola, social situations were impossible settings for me. I had isolated myself and my family. Oftentimes, I scan the bushes, the shadows, watching every corner for approaching danger. Lola, my trained service dog keeps me calm by giving me her paw or putting her head in my lap as if she is telling me ‘ Hey, I’m here and we’re going to be ok.’ My life has changed for the better and now I feel like a capable husband and father and am able to attend my daughters’ activities. I could never thank the PAWS team enough for all they’ve done for me and my family.”