Program Gives Free Service Dogs to Veterans

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Monday, an Army veteran met her new best friend - Venus the service dog.

"I am super excited. I heard this dog is going to change my life and I am sure it is," Tanya Mancini said.

Mancini spent a year in Afghanistan in 2003. During her tour of duty, she lived in constant fear.

More than a decade later she still suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"I have issues leaving the house, driving or doing things that I used to be able to do easily, and I get panic attacks I am full of anxiety," Mancini told FOX40.

That's why she was chosen by the Healing Heroes program to receive a free service dog that, with time and training, will help Mancini begin to lead a normal life again.

"The dog provides peace and calm and helps the veteran overcome their fears," Healing Heroes spokesperson Victoria Curtis said.

The dog will soon be trained to notice if the veteran is about to have a panic attack and alert them to calm down. This training isn't cheap. It costs about $1,000 per dog, but is totally free to Mancini and other vets.

There is a fundraiser taking place Sunday, Dec. 7 from 1-4 p.m. at the Rocklin Event Center, located at 2650 Sunset Boulevard.

All the money raised from this event will be matched by Johnson Ranch Rehabilitation Center to help several veterans get service dogs. If you would like to donate you can attend the event or email

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