the dog who changed an army veteran's life
Cocoa, the dog who changed an army veteran's life | BBC

An assistance dog named Cocoa helped change an army veteran’s life after being diagnosed with a brain tumor and given only 3 years to live.

Ten years later, Afghanistan veteran Archie Douglas continues his journey with the help of Cocoa.

I was surprised about what a difference it made to us.”

The presence of Cocoa in Douglas’ life gave the army veteran a sense of “independence.

I know I can go out knowing that if something happens to me day or night, [that] she’ll call for help…

On Cocoa’s harness is the emergency number of Douglas’ wife, Allie, which the dog wears all the time while with his owner.

Luckily, a charity that pairs veterans with trained canines for support and companionship, the Bravehound, helped Douglas train his own pup, Cocoa, as his assistance dog.

Cocoa the assistance dog that changes an army veteran's life
Cocoa, the dog that changed an army veteran's life | BBC

Despite Douglas’ continuous battle with his neurological condition, he sees how Cocoa became such “a blessing in somebody’s life.”

She has made life much better than it otherwise would be.”

Having served in the army for 20 years, Douglas’ life went upside down after hearing the devastating news from his medical team.

“…it was a bit of a shock,” he recalled.

It’s left me brain damaged. It’s left me diagnosed with SMART Syndrome.”

Douglas was also diagnosed with epilepsy and a “number of neurological dysfunctions.”


Compassion for pets is fuel to Lenin's lifelong mission. As a fur mom to a Havanese dog and 6 stray cats, Lenin sees the joy in rescuing and giving pets a chance at a forever home. Even in her career as a freelancer, Lenin focused on writing everything about pets — from breed profiles to nutrition down to some of their interesting facts.