Shawnee Vet Needs Helping Getting To Service Dog
SHAWNEE, Oklahoma - An Oklahoma veteran needs your help this holiday season. He has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and has qualified for a free service dog in Arizona, thanks to a group called Operation Wolfhound. The only problem is he doesn't have the money to fly out and get it.
Wesley Baxley of Shawnee says the flight costs anywhere from $600 to a $1,000. And he says he's broke, and unemployed.
"Men and women who have PTSD, they lose jobs and they don't know what's going on," said Baxley. "They lose family. I mean men and women that don't understand, they leave them."
Baxley says that's exactly what happened to him. And it was actually a chance encounter at the VA Medical Center in Oklahoma City that introduced him to Operation Wolfhound , a group that provides psychiatric service dogs to veterans with PTSD.
"I saw a man with a service dog and it was an Irish wolfhound," said Baxley. "I went up to him and started talking with him and he said ‘Yeah I have PTSD.'"
Baxley said that chance encounter not only changed his life, but gave him hope. He joined the United States Marine Corp. right after high school. But he, like so many others, now suffers from PTSD due to trauma he says he endured during boot camp.
"It's real, I mean it's nothing to be played with and it won't [ever] go away," said Baxley. "So it's just been hard not just on me but my family as well."
His doctor has written a letter, saying a service dog would help. And Operation Wolfhound in Arizona has a dog ready for him. He just has to find a way to get there. But Wesley says since he can't work, he has no other choice than to ask for help.
"You know I don't like asking for money because I'm a humble person," said Baxley. "I don't like doing that."
Service dogs have already been proven to help comfort young and old alike and have helped several people overcome their physical and mental limitations. To date Operation Wolfhound has placed four service dogs with veterans and have several currently being prepped, one of which could be Wesley's dog.
"This dog would actually go with me to church, everywhere," said Baxley. "It would be like a dream come true."
Baxley hopes that if he raises the money in time, he could fly to Arizona the first week of January to pick up his service dog. If you'd like to help, you can make a donation to the Operation Wolfhound fund in care of Wesley Baxley at Tinker Federal Credit Union.