Rose Baca – neighborsgo staff photographer

“For some veterans, the dog can help a person go out in public. But for me, Gunny helped me go home,” said Deweerd, a fourth-grade bilingual math and science teacher at Duncanville’s Charles Acton Elementary School. “Work was a good release for me because I was around people and kids. I liked going to work. What I didn’t like was going home to an empty house.”

  • Storms terrified him.
  • The sound of thunder brought Dustin Deweerd back to the bombs that woke him from the mud compound in Afghanistan where his unit lived.
  • Nighttime was the worst.
  • His Duncanville home was too quiet with too many opportunities to relive the two years he spent overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • But Deweerd said his match last May to Gunny, a 3-year-old Labrador service dog, has helped the soldier calm his battle with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

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