Germantown, Md. -
For the past five years, the Warrior Canine Connection has worked to prove that sometimes the best medicine has four legs and a wet nose.
After six months of waiting, former army infantry officer Dan Berschinski was officially given the leash of his service dog Buntz.
'More than anything, he is just a best friend that is always around me,” said Berschinski. “It is a challenge to keep him engaged, to keep him exercised. I want to give him the best life possible and so really that forces me to get out and always keep him entertained which keeps me entertained."
With 22 service dogs being given over to their heroic new owners, this years graduating class is the biggest that the WCC has ever had.
"It certainly tell me the need isn't lessening, said Warrior Canine Connection Director Rick Yount. “The need is actually increasing. The rallying of volunteers and supporters and donors is really coming together to help meet that need."
Those volunteers and supporters include hundreds of puppy parents and petters who put in thousands of hours to socialize and specially train each dog.
The keynote speaker for the ceremony was General Jay Paxton, assistant commandant to the Marine Corps and a man who understands that these former soldiers have pain that can't always be cured in a hospital.
"To watch how the medical community and the research community has harnessed that and how it has assisted and facilitated in the recovery of our veterans, whether it is their physical recovery, their emotional recovery or their family bonding has really been special to see," said General Paxton.
The warrior canine connection has five training sites across the country with a 6th site set to open in