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Man's life makes a 180 after three weeks with service dog

KINGSLEY, Iowa - Mike Powell lives his day-to-day life in Kingsley, Iowa. 

"My mind wanders back to long drives in Iraq," says Powell. 

A retired veteran of 22 years, Mike suffers from PTSD.

But his best friend Gunner has helped him through some of his toughest moments lately.

"You know you get a best friend, you get in a bad mood, they're going to stay away for a few days. He's not like that. You get in a bad mood and his job is to bring me back out of that bad mood and he does it time and time again and never asks for anything in return," says Powell.

Gunner is his four-legged, furry German Shepherd. 

"My stress level gets extremely high in crowded situations like the mall or Wal-Mart or places like that and I needed something to help calm me down and the VA wants to prescribe drugs and everything else and I was given the phone number for Partners for Patriots and they said try that," says Powell.

He's specially trained by Partners for Patriots-- a program that trains dogs to give to vets who return home and need emotional or physical support.

"He gives me something else to think about. I'm always thinking about him, talking to him," says Powell.

"It's amazing. Anytime, any of them, go with the veterans, it just blows your mind how they just know they need them," says Cindie Brodie, co-founder of Partners for Patriots. 

Brodie is someone with personal ties to vets...and she knew she had purpose behind starting this program. 

"I feel like my whole time was spent just trying to keep him calm, trying to keep him happy, trying to keep him from getting upset or irritated and now I feel like Gunner just does it. I don't have to worry about it. I can just be with Mike," says Trish Powell, Mike's wife. 

"He makes me feel comfortable. I don't have to worry about what's going on around me, or if somebody is behind me and I don't see them or if I start getting angry, I don't have to worry about bringing myself back down because now that's his job," says Powell. 


Partners for Patriots relies on public donations to be able to continue to provide services to vets. If you would like to donate, you can donate online at partnersforpatriots.org or you can mail donations to:


Partners for Patriots

c/o Martha McMinn

705 Douglas Street, Suite 635

Sioux City, IA 51104

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