SAN DIEGO, California – A San Diego veteran went from receiving a Purple Heart during his tenure to felony charges after he was discharged from the military. Now he’s changing his life with a newfound passion.
Daniel Lopez joined the Marines in 2003. In his 12 years of service he made three trips to Iraq and Afghanistan. During his first tour, a roadside bomb exploded and he was hit by flying splinters and gravel, eventually earning him a Purple Heart.
He said when he got out of the military he hit rock bottom.
“In short, it was PTSD. I was depressed, angry, freaked out, ”said Lopez.
From PTSD to criminal charges to addiction issues, Daniel needed help.
He ended up reaching out to several San Diego agencies and military groups to help get him back on his feet. It was through these groups that he was introduced to the care and training of dogs and realized that this is his passion.
Five years ago he started his own company, K9 Allies. He trains both pets and service dogs. He also trains for civilians and veterans, and offers discounted prices to veterans. It is a mobile training service that goes directly to customers.
Lopez said he could tap into his past to help care for some of the toughest dogs out there.
“I’ve started seeing myself in these dogs. I understand the fear and see some of the aggression that comes from them and I can understand and understand how to get these dogs to understand that I have their backs, they don’t have to freak out. You don’t have to lose your mind. Don’t worry, ”he said.
You can find him on Facebook @ K9allies.
This story was originally published by Leah Pezzetti on KGTV.