WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The price tag for training a service dog can range between $10,000 to $30,000. The cost can be the life of a veteran.

Midwest Battle Buddies is helping veterans reclaim their lives from PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, disabilities and other issues. They’re doing so by training service animals at no cost to the veteran.

Ken Bower knows first hand the realities of war are harsh.

“Until you actually go through it and watch your friend die in front of you, it sucks.”

Bower was on the USS Cole when it was blown up by Al Qaeda, 10 months into his military career.

“You go, and you serve your country. You don’t expect to have PTSD,” said Bower.

Consequences of shrapnel that continue years after returning home.

“I would isolate myself a lot; my home was my prison. I was serving a life sentence at my house,” said Bower.

Breaking free from a cell of despair and finding a comrade in man’s best friend.

“When I’m having a bad anxiety attack, Keno will read in on it and lean into me and give me what I call ‘puppy dog hugs,'” said Bower.

They are just one pair getting support through Midwest Battle Buddies.

“We hear from the therapist at the VA that anxiety is almost automatically down, {veterans are} having better sessions, sometimes they’re reducing their meds, just having that companion to get out,” said Chip Neumann, co-founder of Midwest Battle Buddies.

“People will say, ‘hey, thanks for your service,’ yeah that’s great, but if you really want to help a veteran, even maybe save a veteran’s life, come to these non-profits and help out,” said Bower.

Support for soldiers of war, facing their own continuous fight off the battlefield.

Midwest Battle Buddies has matched 43 dogs and veterans together since 2017.

Veterans interested in receiving support through Midwest Battle Buddies can start with an application.

Three ways to support:

  1. Monetary donations
  2. Stay up to date on events
  3. Volunteer