Group pairs shelter dogs with service members - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Group pairs shelter dogs with service members

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A local group is pairing up wounded warriors with shelter dogs.

The rescued dogs offer support to the returning veterans, giving both of them a second chance for a better life together.

His name is Reacher, but it's no reach to say his relationship with Cpl. Josh Wehrman is something very special.

"Extremely decreased my level of paranoia and anxiety," Wehrman said.

Wehrman suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Reacher is his service dog, but what makes their bond really unique is that Wehrman is the one training him.

"It's built a companionship between him and I that you wouldn't… I wouldn't be able to build with a dog if I would have just gotten a dog," he said.

Veterans all over the country are taking part in this program, called Sherri's Project: Wounded Warrior Pack.

"The dogs offer them a lot of support in healing while they get over the traumas of war," Sherri Waters said.

Waters is a certified master dog trainer who understands where these vets are coming from. She served in the Army.

"The guys typically suffer from PTSD, and traumatic brain injuries. They have anxiety attacks, nightmares. The dogs help them to wake up to alarm clocks, stop them from their nightmares," she said.

Reacher is one of several dogs in the program rescued from shelters. Hogan is another one. He was just hours from being euthanized when a rescue group called SPOT saved him and knew he'd be perfect for Sherri's Project.

"Obviously, he's a very loving dog and so to find him… see him go into a new home and be a family dog and help someone who served our country is just phenomenal," Alisa Trejo said.

Sherri's Project prides itself on not having a waiting list, so vets who want a dog can quickly get one -- and all the training - is free.

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