TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A United States Marine Corps veteran from Hernando Beach and his service dog will be celebrating their first Veterans Day together on Nov. 11.
Mark Levis was placed with his service dog, Sirius, through America’s VetDogs, and the pair recently completed 10 days of training in New York.
Lervis served as Marine for nearly 10 years. He was deployed to the Philippines, Honduras, Korea and other countries before retiring with the rank of Marine Corporal.
He was forced to medically retire due to an injury he suffered while deployed in Korea.
With the long-term physical effect of his injury, in addition to mental challenges, Levis turned to America’s VetDogs for help.
According to the organization, Levis and Sirius learned to work together as a team for independence. Sirius was individually trained for Levis to help mitigate PTSD symptoms and to provide a calming effect, as well as a sense of security.
Sirius can also perform tasks like, “providing counterbalance, retrieving a dropped phone, provide nightmare interruption and provide comfort and encouragement in new and different social situations,” according to America’s VetDogs.
America’s VetDogs services are available to other veterans in the Tampa Bay area at no cost.