Giving Your Best: Jerry Lyda - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Giving Your Best: Jerry Lyda

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This month's Giving Your Best winner has been training dogs since he was 12-years old.

Jerry Lyda is the owner of Southern K-9 Solutions, and now he's using his skills to help disabled veterans through a non-profit he started, Veterans K-9 Solutions.

Jerry is saving dogs marked for death at local animal shelters and pairing them with veterans who suffer from the post-traumatic stress of war.

The dogs are 24/7 companions that help provide a bridge back to society.

Dewey Hill nominated Lyda for the award.

"The more the public learns about him, the more he can get some financial help. "

Lyda knows all about the unseen troubles that can follow soldiers home from war.  He's a Vietnam Vet himself, as is his father-in-law:

"He was over there twice. He had PTSD and he had the Agent Orange, so that's when I really started thinking about what I could do to help my brothers-in-arms."

As the owner of Southern K-9 Solutions, he trains dogs in obedience, narcotics detection and more. Now, he's working to match dogs -set to be euthanized in animal shelters- with veterans who need service dogs.

Like this Vietnam Vet in Tennessee: Larkey Tyree uses a service dog named Apple, trained to jolt a soldier from a flashback, dial 911 on a phone and even sense a panic attack before it starts.

"I've seen other people doing this across the nation, so I thought, here we are in Augusta, GA, some of the best hospitals for veterans in the nation, WHY am I not doing this for these guys?"

That's when Dewey got on board.

"I just saw a chance to make the world a better place and this is what I'm doing, I'm trying to help him." 

Lyda has rallied lawyers, grant writers, police trainers, animal shelters and veteran outreach organizations behind his mission.

"I've been pushing hard, and it's a long road, I don't think I'm gonna have a problem- you guys out there with dogs, or veterans- I'm gonna need funding. It's a 501(c)(3)."

For more information about Southern K-9 Solutions, click here.

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