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Disabled Army Veteran receives mobility assistance service dog

After serving our country for 26 years, Timmy now has a new lease on life with his dog Jewell.
Jewell, a mobility assistance dog at a 'Passing of the Leash' ceremony.
Jewell, a mobility assistance dog at a 'Passing of the Leash' ceremony.(WVLT)
Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 6:11 PM CDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A Labrador Retriever named Jewell is starting her mission as a service dog for an Army Veteran who served our country.

Timmy served for 26 years with six combat deployments to Iraq, Kosovo, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Libya.

To help him with his disabilities, Smoky Mountain Service Dogs presented him with a mobility assistance service dog Jewell.

On Monday, the non-profit organization hosted a ‘Passing of the Leash ‘ ceremony, celebrating the completion of training for Jewell, sending her to her new home with Timmy.

The Army Veteran says he’s thankful for all of the volunteers and donors who helped to make this all happen.

“They’re the greatest people. They work with you, they worked with me every step of the way. I never thought I would come out the end from the start, but I came all the way through it with their help,” says Timmy.

Mike Kitchens with Smoky Mountain Service Dogs says it takes two years and between 1500 to 1800 hours of training for each mobility assistance service dog.

“We serve Veterans with physical disabilities. Often times they also suffer from some level of PTSD and the dog is very very helpful with PTS also,” says Kitchens.

Jewell is trained to assist Timmy by doing things like picking up his cane and hat and helping him to relax during high-stress moments.

Timmy says he is ready to start his new lease on life with Jewell.

“She means a lot. She’s gonna do a lot. She does a lot, and I hope to do for her as she does for me,” says Timmy.

Any disabled Veteran with an honorable discharge who has a service connected physical disability can apply for a service dog through Smoky Mountain Service Dogs.

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