WARREN, Mich. (FOX 2) - Trainging a service dog isn't cheap. The price tag runs $25,000 per animal.
However, their role is invaluable compared to the cost of training one. The dogs go toward assisting veterans, acting as a lifeline for many of them during strenuous periods in their life.
"He keeps me calm and keeps me safe and I do the same for him," said Matthew McMurray, a veteran with a service dog. "It gives you purpose everyday to wakeup and do something. So these dogs are phenomenal."
McMurray was in a previous Fox 2 story, spotlighted in a February package that showcased him, his dog Cobalt and the group Guardian Angels. The program pairs highly trained canines with militiary veterans and first responders that have gone through trauma.
Fast forward to April 8, and the same charity that helped train Cobalt is on display again. After watching the story air, Jim Riehl's Friendly Chrysler Jeep dealership raised $7,000 to help train Sterling, the next dog on deck to fill the role as a service animal.
"Thank you so much, we really appreciate this," said Mary Lamparter of Guardian Angels, "Sterling is coming along beautifully now and this is going to go a ong way to make Sterling's training complete."
Lamparter is shaking the hand Joe Riehl, head of the dealership. For the total number of vehicles sold in the month of March, the dealership committed $25 per unit and collected $7,300. Tacked on to the already $9,000 raised through donations and Sterling's training fund is close to its goal.
"It makes my heart melt just seeing that we are providing a better quality of life for some of these disabled veterans," Riehl said. "And to train a dog and let the dog let the veteran know that he can get through some of the stuff he's trying to get through, it's really what it's all about."
Head to www.sterling-heights.net/guardianangels for more information.