CHARLOTTE, N.C. — James Tessneer served three tours in Iraq in four years, and his sacrifice for his country left him deeply emotionally wounded. He returned to American soil and the effects of his PTSD were so pronounced that he has to have a live-in caregiver to help him function in every day life. Simple tasks, like going to the store, were all too overwhelming for this veteran to bear.
Decimo was across the country, in a shelter, slated to die in 24 hours when a miracle happened; he was saved. Decimo was one of the lucky ones. Rescued from a high-kill shelter, he was destined to become Tessneer’s service dog.
Decimo spent four months working with trainer Christian Stickney of One Warrior Won to get his service dog designation. Upon graduation he met James and it was nothing short of love at first sight. Tessneer says he prayed that his service dog would “free him” from his “constant mental hell.”
Those prayers were answered. Since his arrival Decimo has helped to heal some of Tessneer’s emotional demons, allowing him to participate in activities he otherwise would have shied away from, like going to the beach with his daughter. He’s no longer crippled with the thought of going out to run errands; he knows he’s got Decimo by his side guiding him, supporting him through this exercise.
One Warrior Won operates out of Maine, “Saving Dogs” and “Saving Warriors”.
Their website says it best:
“Knowing over 3,000 canines a day are euthanized in this country, and over 22 veterans a day are committing suicide, One Warrior Won saw a unique opportunity to help lower both those numbers. By selecting well vetted dogs from high kill shelters and putting them into an extensive PTSD Service Dog program, it allows us to save the dog, train the dog and in turn save the warrior.”
To learn more about Decimo’s story view the video below.