Guide dog uplifts veteran’s spirit after explosion

(WTNH) — When Matthew Sladen, a retired Explosive Ordinance Team Leader, suffered a devastating injury while serving overseas, he thought all was lost.

While doing a routine foot sweep, Sladen, thinking he saw something at the corner of his eye, dropped to the ground and slid his mine probe to the ground. Seconds later, the bomb went off, blowing off Sladen’s arm, smashing his face to bits and destroying his eyes.

“I thought I was done. I thought the couch and cable TV was going to be my future,” said Sladen, as he described the depression he faced after the accident.

However, when Sladen went to the Blinded Veteran Association, Fidelco, an organization that partners blind clients with German Shepherd guide dogs, had a booth set up.

Sladen introduced himself to them and later made contact with them. Fidelco connected Sladen to Legend, a guide dog that he says took him from being paranoid, nervous, anxious, and lonely and isolated to lifting his spirits back up.

“Legend’s empowered me, he’s given me confidence back and he’s given me reasons to get up and out and about. I probably would not be alive if it wasn’t for Legend. Legend saved my life,” said Sladen.

To learn more about Fidelco, click here.

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