Meet Philip and service dog Bobby Ray
Philip Reyes and service dog Bobby Ray
Philip Reyes hoped to make the Army a long-term career, but those dreams were cut short after an IED blast in Afghanistan fractured his hip and back and permanently damaged nerves. Invisible wounds remained, and Philip only felt safe at home.
“I don’t go anywhere, I don’t. I didn’t—and [my family] felt like a dog would give me that confidence to get out more. Sure enough, since I was matched with Bobby Ray, it’s amazing. Since everything happened, I hadn’t been away from my family in a very long time. Not in years. My family is kind of my safe zone. Now Bobby Ray is part of that—he’s my safe zone that goes with me.”
Bobby Ray is a calm and playful yellow Labrador and Philip’s new service dog. Since he met Bobby Ray, Philip is finding hope. “Anytime I go anywhere, I’ve been very stressed out with people and noise; just seeing him makes me calm. Most of the time, I’m all over the place, checking behind me, checking for someone. Now my focus is on him, and he completely takes away the negative focus.”
Before heading home, Philip was looking forward to experiencing more of his young daughter’s everyday life. “She’s six,” he explains. “With Bobby Ray, I’ll finally be able to start doing things with her—ballet, gymnastics classes—doing things with her has been very limited, emotionally and physically. Being able to do that stuff means a lot to me.”