NESCONSET, NY — Paws of War, a local veterans organization on Long Island, has begun a new program that helps veterans and first responders get advanced service training for their own dogs.
A local businesswoman was the first to donate funds that will allow a US Marine reservist’s 7-month-old boxer train to become her own service dog.
Nicole Schwartz with Re/Max Real Estate wanted to donate to an organization that helped rescue dogs. When she found that Paws of War helps dogs and veterans, she knew she wanted to help.
“There could be no better march for me,” she said.
On Monday she met Hercules: a dog being trained to help US Marine Reservist Ali Bardeguez.
“He was a raging ball of wild fur when I first got him,” Bardeguez said about Hercules.
Her current service dog, Evangeline, is getting ready to retire.
“The new program welcomes veterans and first responders who already own their dogs. They don’t want to give them up,” Paws of War founder Robert Misseri said.
Photojournalist Keith Lopez has more in the video above.