HANAHAN, SC (WCSC) - Prisoners at the Naval Brig in Hanahan have been training service dogs for wounded warriors for months and Thursday, the first dog was placed with his new owner, a Marine who came back from war disabled.
"As Marines you have too much pride to get help I dealt with it for five years," said Sgt. Brian Jarrell. "Finally I couldn't do it anymore."
Jarrell has post traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq for four years.
"I had to transfer my best friend who got hit by an IED. He got burned really bad that's when I really started dealing with the issues," Jarrell said.
From nightmares and anxiety, to anger problems, Jarrell dealt with a lot, but this week, this wounded warrior got a service dog to help.
"With her the first night, I slept the whole entire night," Jarrell said of his new service dog.
The dog, named Jada, was trained by prisoners at the Naval Brig in Hanahan, a program put in place by Carolina Canines in September. Each dog is trained for 1,200 hours and is worth about $40,000. Rick Hairston says the need for these dogs is growing.
"If you consider just a quarter of the warriors wounded in Iraq, we're talking 36,000, that's more than 9,000 service dogs that would be required and available, not counting veterans from other wars," Hairston said.
These dogs can do everything from retrieving prosthetics and picking up spare change to getting a drink from the fridge. The dogs will provide companionship and much more.
"If I'm in a crowd feeling overwhelmed I can tell her to do circles shell go into circles make the crowd back up that way I won't feel overwhelmed," said Commander Raymond Drake.
Drake says the dogs help the atmosphere at the brig with prisoners and personnel.
"Make it a point to see the dogs when they're walking around they can't help, but pet the animals and talk to the trainer so its improved morale," Drake said.
The biggest difference is with the wounded warriors themselves.
This program was at Camp Lejeune, N.C. until the base realignment and closure mandate.
Each dog is first screened for temperament, and then given physical examinations before they are ever trained.