Soldiers endure a lot during their time of service. Sometimes that includes coming back from active duty bearing scars – whether they’re physical battle wounds or the emotional injuries of war. As a result, these veterans often require some kind of assistance when they return back home. These brave men and women will sometimes even require a service dog. Unfortunately, not every soldier who needs a service dog will be able to get one right away. Sometimes they have to wait a while – something that seems unfair for those who’ve sacrificed so much for their country.
For Sgt. Luciano Yulfo, he’d spent a long 36 years serving in the military. During his career as a soldier, he’d been a part of both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He received an injury in July of 2014 while he was on deployment in Afghanistan. His injury caused him to medically retire from active duty. For the two years that followed, Sgt. Yulfo was stationed at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Then in April of 2016, he officially retired from the military. But when Sgt. Yulfo had returned to the US he’d applied for a service dog in order to have assistance with the injuries he’d sustained while deployed in Afghanistan. However, he’d been placed on a waiting list for more than 18 months.
But while the retired US Army Sgt. Was out at a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden he had no idea that he was in for a big surprise. The former Army sergeant was brought out to the court center in order for the team’s Hoops for Troops program to honor the vet during a Military Appreciation Night. It was during this game dedicated to those in the military, that Sgt. Yulfo was presented with his very own personalized Knicks jersey. While that was a nice gesture, it was far from his main surprise.
As it turned out, the organizers of the program had managed to get Sgt. Yulfo his very own service dog named Murphy. The pooch had been donated to the event by Paws of War, the organization that trains rescued dogs to be service dogs for US Military Veterans. All the dogs are trained specifically for the veterans that they’ll be working with, making them either emotional support dogs for those with PTSD, or assistants to those veterans who can’t walk.
When the sergeant saw his new service dog, he was overwhelmed with emotion. He immediately fell to his knees and hugged his new dog – a very tender moment that brought tears to all our eyes. This video is the perfect example of how much service dogs can mean to someone who needs them.