Stories of hope

Vets to Vets United exists to bring hope to the lives of veterans and dogs in need. We will share more stories of hope in the future.

Rhea and Allee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

finally be reunited in a safe place
with her being able to lie at myfeet, or wake me by nudging my hand, even mouthing me gently if I don’t wake fast enough.

 

But all of this would not be possible without Dr. Terry Morris and the organization called Vets to Vets United, Inc. From the first time I spoke with Dr. Morris on the phone and poured my heart out to her (along with a lot of tears), she without hesitation offered her compassion, a truly understanding heart and the spirit of a fellow dog lover. My gratitude is unending. 

 

Together we went out to the local animal shelter on the day Allee was to be euthanized!! Vets to Vets United worked along with Coalition to Unchain Dogs, to save Allee from certain death. Playfully, I reminded Allee that she was not a cat and therefore the nine lives rule did not apply. 

 

Though the last year of being in a forced homeless situation was hard, it was more devastating to put my dogs through the pain of losing our home and protection that was taken away, though no fault of their own. Trying to find a home where I could have my dogs and reestablish our lives was an eye-opening and heartbreaking experience. This experience I hope to never repeat. 

 

Now that I have Allee back in my life, I know that I am going to be ok.

 

How do I put into words what my heart can hardly contain? To be reunited with my Allee and her with I is so overpowering, it’s hard to phrase. When I first held her back in November, who would have guessed that nine months later we would 

Paul and Wego

I am a disabled veteran due to an

injury in 2013, resulting in surgery, a

debilitating stroke, balance,

cognitive and PTSD issues.

In my mind, being so physically

handicapped and having lost my

ability to continue working in my

field to support myself faced a

seemingly hopeless future. I was

emotionally incapable of thinking

coherently, barely able to take

care of myself, having been

homeless, indigent and had all

but given up with a plan to end

my life.

 

I went through a period of homelessness ultimately finding assistance (medical & housing) through the veterans administration,  and meeting Dr. Morris in 2014 who was instrumental in helping Wego and me become a team.

 

Always a dog lover, I was introduced

to Vets to Vets United, Inc.(VTVUI), 

a non-profit organization who

matches rescue dogs with veterans

in need and empowers us to train our

own service dog(s). Wego had been

adopted from a shelter in NC.

 

When Wego and I were introduced,

it was an instant bond. With the

hands on assistance of the

Founder/Director Dr. Terry Morris,

We trained, struggled, and worked

becoming inseparable partners living

for each other.

 

With the financial assistance of

VTV, I adopted Wego and

committed to his care and training

for his lifetime. After 18 months

Wego is a registered Service Dog,

I am training other veterans (part

of the agreement with VTV is to

give back through volunteerism),

and we are a registered active Pet

Partners therapy team regularly 

touching lives at a local senior

center as well as in the Durham VA Regional medical center.

 

Thanks to Wego, and Vets to Vets United I found the will to fight, the desire to live, and joy in reaching out to others  through therapy work and working with other veterans and their rescue dogs to hopefully, improve their lives so they can find the joy of life and living.

Robert and Levi

The VTVU Program is absolutely a

great program.  Levi (My 3 year old

Labradoodle) and I have been in the

program for a short period of time

and have learned an immiscible

amount of training.  The quality

of training that Dr. Morris offers

is second to none.  The ability for

her to teach group classes while

still offering one on one instruction

is above all reproach; thus enabling

the teams to focus on what they

need to improve upon clearly &

directly.  The program has helped

Levi and I learn everything from the basics to advanced commands, which in turn has helped us build a better bond.  I go nowhere without him; which was my number 1 goal – to have him with me in public, everywhere.   I feel one of Dr. Morris’s true passions behind the VTVU program to help Veterans regain freedom back into society by bonding dogs and humans as an indispensable team is phenomenal.   As a Veteran, this program has improved my quality of life significantly.  

Calvin and Tank

Thank you Terry your input means a lot to me. Again I keep saying this to you and I a may sound like a broken record but you are an inspiration to all the Veterans including myself and I want to say thank you for all you do and keep doing a fantastic job in giving us Veterans HOPE!!!!....

 

YOU ROCK.....

Calvin

Bruce and Ozzy

After struggling with severe PTSD, I

started searching for a dog because I

knew that I had to change what I was

doing as a person because the path I

was going down was very dark and

would not have a good outcome.  In

this search I found my dog Ozzy from

a person who had adopted him from

the shelter but he was making that

persons PTSD worse because of his

energy.  His former owner told me

about Vets to Vets United Inc. and

Dr. Terry Morris and gave me her

number telling me I had to call

because she could really help. 

I called Dr. Morris the very next business day which happened to be a Monday and of course I got to her voice mail as she is always busy helping veterans.  She returned my call the next day and talked with me about the program and told me she would love to have me but there was a waitlist.  Through a misunderstanding that I had about what she was saying I drove to the training location with Ozzy the very next training class that she had.  Ozzy is an Australian Shepard/Pitt mix and very energetic so of course when we first attended class he had no manners he came in barking announcing that he was there and it was time to get the party started and generally acting very unruly.  This did not deter Dr. Morris even though she did tell me later that she was wanting to know who told us about the program because she had some words for them. 

Ozzy and I worked together for over

two years and in that time we both

have developed and have made

ourselves into something better.  Now

he is very calm and loves to work and

would have it no other way than to be

a service dog.  I have been able to

start going out and meeting new

people, helping more people and even

change jobs so now Ozzy and I both

go to Wake Technical Community

College and teach full time.  During this time, we have had to fight our battles inside me still but my anger levels have also decreased and I am holding myself accountable for my actions.  Dr. Morris doesn’t believe in just treating the symptoms of the veterans but works with the entire family to try and help resolve the problems causing the symptoms.

We would not have been able to achieve this success if not for the help of Dr. Morris and Vets to Vets United Inc.  They paid for vet bills when Ozzy needed to go to the vet and I was not financially able to.  They have provided us with free training and shown me how to train Ozzy myself and made it where we didn’t have to spend between fifteen and twenty thousand dollars for a service dog due to the Veterans Affairs not recognizing the power of a service dog to help veterans suffering with PTSD and other ailments. 

I am forever grateful to Vets to Vets United Inc. and will continue to support them even though Ozzy and I have graduated.  We will do this by continued attendance and taking over some of the training duties so that we can increase the number of veterans that we can have enrolled in the training program at one time.

Sue (Mother of Nicholas) and Winston

 

Twenty five hundred miles; on the opposite

end of the country, is a long distance.  It’s

also a long way on the other end of a

phone call to hear anger, sadness and a

sense of being lost.  It’s also difficult to

deal with the fact that I have been

completely unable to “help”. 

 

A couple of months ago, help was on the

way....................

 

I am proud that Nick actively pursued the

military and saw many changes in him over

the years..........good and not so good. 

The past several years have been

particularly rough.  I only have a hint of a

few details but have also “heard” a lot of

despair, unhappiness and anger.  This was compounded by his marriage and subsequent divorce.  Over the years,  I could only listen and allow Nick to “vent” over the phone.  PTSD is ugly.

 

Several months ago Nick told me he qualified to receive a service dog through a program called Vets to Vets.  He was very excited and still struggling at the same time.  All the energy he had was spent to go to his VA appts, school, work and participate in the service dog training program.

 

Since Nick brought Winston home, I have seen and heard significant and positive changes in Nick.  Wow.................

 

Nick smiles.  He has goals; and is working toward them with school, work and home.  He has a purpose.  Holidays are hard for all of us and he did awesome.  He is proud of his achievements, large and small.  He laughs, and he makes me laugh.  He’s positive.  Something I haven’t seen in a long time........he has empathy.

 

He talks about Winston all the time and how good he feels when he’s around.  I can see it too while Winston, Nick, and his dad and I Skype.  I can hear it in his voice.  Nick is much happier and more focused.  Knowing Winston is there with Nick, I actually worry less.  I am happy and proud of the commitment Nick has made to Winston and the program.  I knew he was committed when he was willing to make the drive for training.  I have had the opportunity to see what Winston and Nick have learned over Skype and it is truly amazing and heartwarming.  His dog has made a such a positive difference.

Nick and Winston

What Winston has done for me is huge.

Before I got Winston I was depressed

and was not on the right track in life.

I was having a bad time coping with

what I had been threw and was

suffering from PTSD. I thought that it

would pass and that I was stronger

than anything. I was angry a lot and

was hurting. I had pushed people away

huge. I was fighting my own demons

and was taking it out on people who

were letting me vent.

 

In 2014 when I had finally decided to

get help and fix myself, I heard about

Vets to Vets United. At first I was

unsure of how a dog would help but I

wanted to give it a try. The day I met Winston at training I was happy I tried to hide my smile, but when I left training I called a friend and talked to them for 2 and a half hours about Winston and how I was happy.
 

Since he has arrived at my house I smile I am not angry.  If anything, I worry not about me, but
about my Best Friend because, well he is the biggest thing in my life and without him I would not
be how I am today.

Since getting Winston, I am full of energy and I strive to be better. I get help with PTSD and I have motivation to do better in life, not only for me but for my best friend. I wake up in the am and I smile because I have a friend that listens and helps me with my struggles. He has the biggest heart in the world and every day I try to match that.


Winston and Vets to Vets United have changed my life from a dark place to something
I look forward to.  In the end Winston and I 'are what a true definition of a family is.

Nick and Winston

What Winston has done for me is huge.

Before I got Winston I was depressed

and was not on the right track in life.

I was having a bad time coping with

what I had been threw and was

suffering from PTSD. I thought that it

would pass and that I was stronger

than anything. I was angry a lot and

was hurting. I had pushed people away

huge. I was fighting my own demons

and was taking it out on people who

were letting me vent.

 

In 2014 when I had finally decided to

get help and fix myself, I heard about

Vets to Vets United. At first I was

unsure of how a dog would help but I

wanted to give it a try. The day I met Winston at training I was happy I tried to hide my smile, but when I left training I called a friend and talked to them for 2 and a half hours about Winston and how I was happy.
 

Since he has arrived at my house I smile I am not angry.  If anything, I worry not about me, but
about my Best Friend because, well he is the biggest thing in my life and without him I would not
be how I am today.

Since getting Winston, I am full of energy and I strive to be better. I get help with PTSD and I have motivation to do better in life, not only for me but for my best friend. I wake up in the am and I smile because I have a friend that listens and helps me with my struggles. He has the biggest heart in the world and every day I try to match that.


Winston and Vets to Vets United have changed my life from a dark place to something
I look forward to.  In the end Winston and I 'are what a true definition of a family is.

Nick and Winston

What Winston has done for me is huge.

Before I got Winston I was depressed

and was not on the right track in life.

I was having a bad time coping with

what I had been threw and was

suffering from PTSD. I thought that it

would pass and that I was stronger

than anything. I was angry a lot and

was hurting. I had pushed people away

huge. I was fighting my own demons

and was taking it out on people who

were letting me vent.

 

In 2014 when I had finally decided to

get help and fix myself, I heard about

Vets to Vets United. At first I was

unsure of how a dog would help but I

wanted to give it a try. The day I met Winston at training I was happy I tried to hide my smile, but when I left training I called a friend and talked to them for 2 and a half hours about Winston and how I was happy.
 

Since he has arrived at my house I smile I am not angry.  If anything, I worry not about me, but
about my Best Friend because, well he is the biggest thing in my life and without him I would not
be how I am today.

Since getting Winston, I am full of energy and I strive to be better. I get help with PTSD and I have motivation to do better in life, not only for me but for my best friend. I wake up in the am and I smile because I have a friend that listens and helps me with my struggles. He has the biggest heart in the world and every day I try to match that.


Winston and Vets to Vets United have changed my life from a dark place to something
I look forward to.  In the end Winston and I 'are what a true definition of a family is.

Rochelle and Marty

Having Marty in our family is a

true joy. I always brag that we

have the smartest dog in the

world! I was diagnosed with

having post traumatic stress

disorder and my son has a

hearing disability; however

through it all, Marty brings

extra love, patience, and

energy to our family that

only he knows how to do.

 

Without Marty our lives would

not be the same; he's my baby. We love him so much and are so appreciative for Vets to Vets United, Inc in helping us add Marty into our family. A very special thank you to Dr. Morris for all she has done for our family. We love you!!!

Larque and Milo

First off,  I want to thank you for allowing Milo and I to be apart of your family. We are genuinely thankful. Dr. Morris, you are a very, very strong and gifted individual. Along this journey, I have witnessed Vets to Vets lose both veterans and animals. Along this journey I've also had the pleasure to meet some amazing veterans and trainers. Thank you all for your support and encouragement.

 

Terry, I want to acknowledge and thank you for what you do. Many of us  veterans in your program live with an invisible disability to many (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). You 

have chosen to get to know us individually and learn issues that we try to hide from many others. You then partner hardheaded stubborn veterans with hardheaded stubborn animals and somehow teach the animals to help the veterans cope with their individual issues. WOW, how in the world do you do that. If I didn't live and see this process happen with my own eyes, I would never think that this process would work, but I am a living witness that it works.

 

Thank you for having the patience, the drive, and the dedication to seeing that me and my fellow veterans have access to better lifestyles. Since your program, I can honestly say that my life is better with Milo by my side. Graduating today is definitely a bittersweet moment. I am very grateful for what Vets to Vets have done for us, thank you.

 

                                       Semper Fidelis    "Q"

Cindy and Riley

Being involved with Vets to Vets has been so positive for my son and me.  Having connected with Riley has brought us so much joy.  She makes us laugh as she still has a lot of puppy in her.  She gets along with the other dogs that belong to my family members and friends creating play dates with our dogs while we are able to enjoy each other’s company.  Everyone that comes in contact with her, adores her.  They will say what a sweet girl she is.  Those are just some bonus examples. 

 

Having the peace of mind that she is with Chris as an additional support system is priceless.  I used to have to ask him to go outside for walks or to go on walks with me but now, he takes the initiative and walks Riley around the neighborhood every day.  She jumps on his bed in the AM to wake him up with only one kiss.  Getting to just one quick kiss took a while because she wanted to kiss his whole face!  She is excited to see me every night I come home from work and I know she is waiting for play time, dinner and then a walk.  Her personality is just wonderful.  She is loving, affectionate, and smart. 

I can tell she wants to do well when we are training.  Learning all the things she will be able to do with consistent training really amazes me.  The training the Dr. Terry Morris provides to us is part of the package we would never be able to do without.  She is so dedicated in supporting the Veterans and the pups, you want to do good.  It’s like having your favorite teacher, you don’t want to let down.  I have only been with the organization four months and I feel like I already have an extended family for the rest of my life.

 

Sincerely

Cindy

Willie and BJ

There is no question for me that the service you give is helpful.  For many years I have been afraid of dogs.  Your support has helped me feel more comfortable. I still have some growing to do, but I don't think I would have been able to get this far without your help.  Besides the fact that I am more comfortable, BJ has become my companion.  He gives me reason to get my day started.  Thank you for that.  It would never have been possible for me without help.

 

Willie

I am deeply grateful to Vets to Vets United for their commitment, dedication and hard work to this program; and to people like my son.  From my perspective and personal observations......it truly works.  Please accept my heartfelt thanks to you and your organization.   I hope to meet you in person one day to thank you personally.

Vets To Vets United, Inc.

732 Ninth Street Box #595

Durham, NC 27705

ph:  919-683-1360

fax: 919-683-1360

alt: 919-452-8745

tmorris@vetstovetsunited.org 

2017 Dr. Terry Morris

Still have questions? Please contact us anytime. We look forward to hearing from you.