MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - Dozens of vets and their service dogs showed up at Twisters Soft Serve in Murrells Inlet on Tuesday.
The thing they all have in common? They all got their dogs through Freedom Fidos.
The New non profit service held a ribbon cutting today to show off what it has done in its first few months.
Veteran/Founder Matt Burgess created the organization to train service dogs that can be paired with vets free of charge. The dogs don't have to be purebred, instead, Freedom Fidos only works with rescue dogs. That means they can be everything from a husky to a toy poodle.
The training process is a long one... it often takes months or even years to get a dog where it needs to be.
Burgess says getting those local shelter dogs not only saves the veteran's life, it saves the dog's life too.
"We do get them from the shelters and that's the only way we'll get them is from the shelter, we won't condone breeders and we won't use breeders," said Burgess. "We're just really excited when we can go to a shelter and find a dog and save them."
The dogs can be trained to do just about anything, depending on a veteran's needs. Some dogs pick up trash and help move laundry, others alert their vet when he or she forgets their medicine.
Boot Sessoms was the first vet to ever work with Freedom Fidos. He suffers from many ailments, both mental and physical, and says his dog has changed his life.
"[The dog] keeps me from getting snap-happy-crazy a lot. He keeps me calm, he reminds me to take my medicines, stuff like that, so I don't have to focus on my past," said Sessoms.