A dog is a man’s best friend, and that goes double for service dogs. These loyal creatures can change so much in a person’s life. For many, receiving a service dog is a true miracle.
One man wanted a service dog more than anything, and he had been waiting to receive one for quite a while. His patience must have been wearing thin, but he never gave up hope. When the day finally came and he met his new best friend, he couldn’t have been happier.
Luciano Yulfo is a retired United States Army First Class Sergeant. He served his country honorably for 36 years as both a member of Operation Iraqi Freedom and of Operation Enduring Freedom. He dedicated most of his adult life to fighting for the rights of others.
In July 2014 Sergeant Yulfo was injured while on deployment. He was retired from active duty and stationed at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for 2 years. After this time, the man retired for good.
Now a veteran and still dealing with his injury, Yulfo applied for a service dog. He submitted his paperwork and waited for 18 months to receive his dog. Yulfo had been placed on a waiting list, and it didn’t seem like he was moving up any time soon.
That’s when a miracle happened. On November 9th, Yulfo attended a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden. He was thrilled to watch the game, but he had no idea what was in store for him on that fateful day.
That night the team was hosting a special event: Military Appreciation Night. Between quarters, the organizers called Yulfo onto the center of the court. The man was surprised as he made his way out of the bleachers, and he must have thought he was being called so that the team could recognize him for his many years of service.
What Yulfo got in addition was absolutely amazing. He was first handed a customized jersey made just for him. But what happened next was an even bigger surprise. The announcers presented to Yulfo his very own service dog.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” a voice on the intercom began, “Sergeant Luciano Yulfo has been patiently waiting for 18 months on the service dog list, and what he does not know tonight, as a surprise and token of appreciation, we would like to invite Robert Visceri from Paws of War to the court and to help us present him with his new service dog, Murphy!”
Yulfo went into shock as an adorable pup came walking toward him. The man had a huge smile on his face, and it was obvious that this act of kindness meant a lot to him. He was so excited to be with his service dog!
The veteran immediately got down on one knee and grabbed his new pet affectionately. The two played together in front of the entire audience, and everyone could tell that this was a dream come true for the former soldier.
As he pet the pup and smiled, the dog looked equally excited to be there. These two were made for each other, and they had at long last been united.
Murphy was trained and donated by Paws of War, an organization dedicated to pairing rescued dogs with military veterans. Each dog is specially trained to meet the needs of the veteran, so each one will be the absolute best fit for his or her owner.
According to its website, the mission of Paws of War is to “train and place shelter dogs to serve and provide independence to our U.S. Military Veterans that suffer from the emotional effects of war. In turn, each Veteran can experience the therapeutic and unconditional love only a companion animal can bring.”
This noble cause is of great help to countless veterans who have suffered injuries, whether they are physical or mental. There is almost nothing that can’t be made better by a dog’s love.
Former Sergeant Yulfo did so much for our country, he definitely deserved to get something back. Seeing his first meeting with his new companion is sure to tug on your heartstrings. Watch this heartwarming moment for yourself in the video below.
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Knicks surprised U.S. army veteran with gift of a service dog after the retired sergeant spent 18 months on the waiting list #VeteransDay
Posted by Bleacher Report on Friday, November 11, 2016