MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, Ohio (WOIO) - Mark Dephillips put his life on the line while serving in Iraq in 2005. The horrors of what he saw left a lasting impression on him.
“I was with the local Marine Corps unit and 49 of our guys were killed,” he explained, “and we were at all those events, too.”
Dephillips suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; not knowing who to turn to, he got the help he needed from an unlikely friend—a service dog, Bear.
“I got someone who’s with me, doesn’t judge me, all he wants is love and attention,” he said.
Dephillips got his new friend via Powerhouse K9′s Service Dogs for Vets program, which aims to pair veterans and law enforcement officers with service dogs.
With the help of his girlfriend, Denise Bebko, Dephillips sent a letter to Powerhouse’s main offices in Nevada. Out of the hundreds of submissions, he was selected.
“I was overwhelmed that I was picked,” Dephillips said, “just the fact that they did it for someone they didn’t know.”
Now, Powerhouse K9′s East Coast Tactical is preparing for a May 15th fundraiser to help finance the costs of raising and preparing a service dog for the initiative.
“These dogs cost up to 20,000 dollars or more for the training they need to be receiving,” Bebko said.
As the organization prepares for their event, Dephillips is glad he has Bear by his side, and hopes other veterans can find the help they need to overcome their trauma.
“I love [bear] and I’m proud of him, and I don’t think I would be the same without him.”