Ray Abreu and his service dog Sunny. Ray served in the U.S. Coast Guard, 2005-2015 (Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Kuwait; Columbia)

Service dog and training provided by Operation Freedom Paws.

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“I just saw a lot of stuff, and we couldn’t do anything because the missions were classified: we were there, but we weren’t there. I asked my partner, ‘How can we just stand by and watch this?’ He said, ‘We can’t intervene. We’re on their soil.’ That’s when I started closing off and being distant from people. That’s when I started losing sleep and when my anger started. Because of the mission and classification, I felt like I couldn’t reach out to a therapist. All that stuff was just building and building. I felt I had to man up. But it got to the point where I thought, I can’t. I’m human. I broke down and went to the hospital. I haven’t been the same since then.

“Things have changed since I met Sunny. I love this guy. You have no idea how much he has helped me turn around. I went from ‘closed Ray’ with my hat and shades to losing the shades. Then I lost the hat. At OFP, they saw me shedding my disguise. They saw me smiling more.”

-Ray Abreu

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