Aron, a Marine Corps veteran, was given a new lease on life when he was paired with his service dog Allie. In July 2023, they reached their “Pairaversary,” celebrating one year together. Allie has made many amazing changes in Aron’s life and continues to teach him something new every day.
Aron’s Life Before Allie
Aron served for a little over four years in the Marine Corps, achieving the rank of Platoon Sergeant by the age of 21, and worked in the Marine Corps Special Operations. He served in the tail end of Desert Storm; he also served in Somalia and Bosnia. Additionally, he served in Columbia, watching over the DEA.
As a result of his valiant service in the Marine Corps, Aron suffered from cumulative physical ailments from the wear and tear he suffered jumping out of airplanes into the ocean and being exposed to physically challenging situations like fires and explosions. He now uses a walker to get around, along with assistance from Allie.
Aron also suffered mental strain during his service, resulting in PTSD. Throughout 20 years of trying to hide his PTSD, Aron went through a period of self-medicating with alcohol. Aron has since been diagnosed with PTSD and maintains sobriety. “Allie has removed any temptation. She’s the only “high” I need,” Aron said.
How Aron Became Paired with Allie
In his journey to becoming paired with a service dog, Aron was redirected to Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs when a smaller service dog organization could not pair him.
“I never had even thought about service dogs. I would take it on the chin and deal with my life, but had I not inquired, I don’t know what I would have done. I’m not saying it’s perfect; however, I’m still here,” Aron said.
Sponsored by PNC Bank, Aron visited Williston, Florida, for training with Guardian Angels and was grouped with other men with PTSD. They shared stories of their service during their pairing process, and he made lifelong friends with the other recipients he met, whom he still keeps in touch with to this day.
How Allie Helps Aron in His Daily Life
After his service in the Marines, Aron said he never typically went out of the house to go to places like restaurants, but now with Allie’s protection and guidance, he can get back out in the world.
On his journey back to North Carolina, after being paired with Allie, Aron made the long drive back and stopped at every exit. “With her, we stopped at every exit possible just to view life. She made me want to be a part of life again, and that was just on the way home. It has changed my life exponentially. She makes me want to “do,” Aron said.
Allie helps Aron manage his PTSD symptoms, waking him from nightmares and blocking him in public to help keep him comfortable. “My flashbacks and my dreams have been so minimized simply by her presence; she makes me get out and be part of life again just with her presence and her loyalty. She and my kids give me a reason to get up every day,” Aron said.
Allie has reinvigorated his life, helping him walk off curbs with his walker and even helping him traverse a muddy trail so he could go saltwater fishing. “Guardian Angels saved my life in a literal sense. Without Guardian Angels and my service dog Allie, I don’t know if I’d still be here for my kids without them,” Aron said.
What Aron Wants You to Know About Guardian Angels
Aron is deeply thankful for his relationship with Guardian Angels and extends his undying gratitude to the organization. “If you could feel in my heart my appreciation for Guardian Angels, it would keep the world warm,” Aron said.
He wants others to know how Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs has saved many live through their pairings and how honored he is to be a part of the Guardian Angels’ family.
“The support system within Guardian Angels is outstanding because you’re never alone. And we’re all one big family, and it makes me feel again. The family at Guardian Angels is something that I cannot duplicate. They are simply wonderful,” Aron said.
Aron’s Advice for Those Seeking a Service Dog
Aron saw firsthand the dedication the Guardian Angels staff has to their recipients and their attentiveness to the recipient’s needs throughout the pairing process.
“Patience is the virtue in this situation. Trust the process and know that you are not forgotten and are remembered every day during the process of your pairing. I know I was because I ended up with exactly the right companion,” Aron said.
To learn more about our Recipients, visit the Guardian Angels’ website today!