SAN DIEGO, Calif. — A San Diego veteran went from receiving a Purple Heart while serving to receiving felony charges after he got out of the military. Now, he’s turning his life around through a newfound passion.
Daniel Lopez joined the Marines in 2003. In his 12 years of service, he completed three tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. During his first tour, a roadside bomb went off and he was hit with flying shrapnel and gravel, ultimately earning him a Purple Heart.
He said when he got out of the military, he hit rock bottom.
“Straight up what it was, it was PTSD. I was going through depression, anger, I was freaking out,” said Lopez.
From PTSD to felony charges to addiction issues, Daniel needed help.
He ended up turning to multiple San Diego agencies and military groups who helped get him back on his feet. Through those groups, he was introduced to caring for and training dogs, and realized it is his passion.
Five years ago, he started his own business, K9 Allies. He trains both pets and service dogs. He also trains for both civilians and veterans, and offers discounted rates to veterans. It's a mobile training service that goes directly to clients.
Lopez said he’s able to tap into his past to help him care for some of the hardest dogs.
“I’ve started seeing myself in these dogs. Understanding the anxiety and seeing some of the aggression coming out of them and I can relate and understand how I can get these dogs to understand that I have their back, they don’t have to freak out. They don’t have to lose their mind. Don’t worry,” he said.
You can find him on Facebook @K9allies.
This story was originally published by Leah Pezzetti at KGTV.