Adopted Pit Bull Puppy Becomes Veteran Service Dog

A puppy named Uzi helped his dad heal with companionship and loving care.

Skyler + Uzi

From shelter dog to service dog, Uzi serves as Skyler’s civilian “battle buddy,” helping him become the “happier version of himself.”

"Since we adopted Uzi, Skyler has been a happier version of himself."

Service dog pit bull
After an Army service-related accident four years ago, my fiance Skyler had to have his leg amputated. When it first happened, an organization asked him about a service dog. But the process was complicated and we couldn’t meet the dog first, so he never pursued it. He’s always loved dogs, as have I. We grew up with them and wanted one for our own little family someday.

After we got engaged and moved into our home, my Skyler and I decided it was finally time to adopt the dog we always wanted. We wanted a puppy, and were lucky enough to stumble upon Bella Reed Pit Bull Rescue. They’d had a pregnant pittie surrendered to them, and needed to place the entire litter. We were lucky enough to adopt Creedence, who we decided to name Uzi.

Service dog pit bull
Skimming through Yelp results for a private trainer, I reached out to MCS Dog Training in York, Pennsylvania. After talking to the owner of the organization on the phone for a little, we realized he and my fiance were both Army veterans with disabilities. He asked if we adopted Uzi to have him as a service dog. I told him that would have been great, but that we went through a rescue, not a service dog organization. Turns out, the owner of MCS also ran an organization called Cover Six Canines. They provide service dogs and service dog training free of charge to veterans and first responders. We thought that was the coolest thing ever, so we started taking Uzi to service dog training.

Service dog pit bull
He’s only about five months old, but Uzi has already begun waking Skyler up from PTSD-related terrors in the middle of the night, and provides a sense of calm and companionship that someone with trauma often needs. In time, Uzi will be trained to signal Skyler when someone is behind him, so he isn’t started. He will learn to “brace” so that if Skyler were to fall, Uzi can help him back up. Uzi will learn how to open doors, press elevator buttons, help Skyler out of crowds and in general be his civilian battle buddy.

Since we adopted Uzi, Skyler has been a happier version of himself. Of course there are moments when Uzi’s little puppy behaviors drive us crazy, but his unconditional love and devotion to us makes it all worth it, especially to Skyler. With his training, Uzi will continue to impact Skyler’s life for the better. As his future wife, this also leaves me feeling less stressed because I know there’s someone else there to wake Skyler up if he is having a bad dream. There’s someone who can help him in a stressful situation if I am not at home; someone who can help him with everyday tasks if I can’t.

Service dog pit bull
When he’s not “working,” Uzi also makes the best family dog for us. He has brought us closer together as a couple and has made us both better and happier people.

Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Jen won Bella-Reed Pit Bull Rescue in Pennsylvania a 2018 Holiday Wishes award.

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