Woman Offers To Help Train Service Dog For Disabled Veteran

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Kansas obedience trainer with 40 years on the job is donating her time to help a disabled Army veteran train a new service dog.

Ryan Newell reported his first service dog stolen on Aug. 3. The dog was later hit by a car on Interstate 35.

We met Kathy Adkins during her first session with 4-year-old Arnie. Right now, they're just working on the basics but the goal is to train Arnie to be a service dog for Ryan Newell.

The wounded veteran lost both his legs while serving in Afghanistan. He also tells us he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Arnie isn't Newell's first service dog. About a week and half ago, he lost Red - his constant companion for one year.

"She was by my side 24/7. It didn't matter where we were at, she'd go with me,” Newell said.

Ryan says Red helped him so much, he knew he needed another service dog.

"Nothing is ever going to be able to replace her but I can still have something there to fulfill the companionship,” Newell said.

The Newell family adopted Arnie Saturday and Ryan says he figured he'd have go out of state for training, just like he did with Red. But after she heard Ryan's story, Kathy Adkins stepped in and offered to train Arnie free of charge.

"I can do it. I can and I will,” Adkins said.

"Knowing that she stepped in to help is a huge, huge weight off my shoulders to help,” Newell said.

Adkins says it will take about two months to turn Arnie into a good service dog, but he's already got the most important part down. He's worked his way into the hearts of Ryan and his family.

Adkins tells us that first she will focus on teaching Arnie how to be calm and obedient. After that, she'll move on to more difficult tasks like retrieving objects.

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