AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Jerry Lyda is a Vietnam War veteran and has been training dogs since he was 12. Two years ago he started Veterans K-9 Solutions, a free training clinic for service dogs for veterans in the CSRA.
"They've already fought the battle, it's my turn to fight for them," Jerry says.
Lyda says he's helping out more than just the veterans.
"We get most of these dogs through the kill shelters. So we save two lives at a time, the veteran and a dog from the shelters," he says.
Dogs of all breeds and sizes are trained through the program, that holds training sessions twice a week.
Veteran Stephanie Haley has been training her chihuahua Max with Jerry for five months now, and says this program has been extremely beneficial for her.
"If it wasn't for Jerry and Max, I would not have the quality of life that I have now," Haley says.
She says the training program has allowed her to take Max everywhere with her, and having a service dog can help veterans cope with pain that affects them every day.
"He'll never forget what he's been through, but he will learn to live better with it," Lyda says.
"It has given me the power to take my life back. And there are so many of us like that, whether it be PTSD, or you know, bi-polar, schizophrenia, whatever it is that people are suffering from, people don't realize that a dog can change their lives," Haley says.
There will be a motorcycle ride fundraiser to benefit Veterans K-9 Solutions Inc. in October, and for more information on the ride click here.
For more information on Veterans K-9 Solutions Inc. visit the website or call 706-231-3856.