Man's best friend helping Fresno Co. Navy veteran through service dog organization

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A friendship between man and man's best friend grows stronger every lesson.

Auberry resident Michael Facciola and his service dog, Farley, have been inseparable since coming into each others lives in January.

Facciola is a Navy veteran and was diagnosed with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in 2015. Since then, he's looked for help.

"I tried the groups; I tried meditation, I was able to find a website called K9 For Warriors," Facciola said.

He reached out to the organization and was paired up with a different dog, which didn't work out.

However, in January, he boarded a Hero Miles complimentary flight to Florida, where the K9 For Warriors training camp is based, and met Farley.

"You meet your dog, and you feel the burden you were taking on yourself, lifted," Facciola said.

Facciola trained with Farley for nearly a month, learning commands while getting to know each other.

Soon, Farley helped Facciola overcome a silent struggle from the PTSD, a fear of crowds that stopped him from living life.

"I was unable to go to a store with my wife without having to go to the car halfway through the experience," Facciola said. "Now, I can go in by myself and do the shopping by myself. It's really helping me integrating back into life."

According to the program's website, the cost to train and place a service dog is approximately $27,000. However, there is no cost to veterans receiving a service dog.

Facciola says while he's given the K9 rescue a forever home, what Farley has given him in return is priceless.

"Not being upset all the time and appreciate my wife and children," Facciola said. "She helps me do that."

K9s For Warriors provides Service Dogs for service members who became disabled while serving on or after 9/11. They accept applications from all 50 states.
Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.