Watch Angel and Metro's story!
Angel and "Metro" - Houston, Texas
Angel, who lives in Houston, followed what he calls a family tradition-to join the military. Angel served in the U.S. Army for five years. He served two tours in Iraq, helping to identify and gather information from suspected members of such groups as al-Qaida, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and various Shiite militias. “We helped find the people that could be exploited for information,” he said.
During his second Iraq tour in 2009, an Iranian-made explosive device blew up and destroyed the vehicle he was traveling in. Angel made it out with his life, but the explosion left him with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and PTSD. “The funny thing is, the gentleman who tried to kill us, I interrogated him two days after the event,” he said. “They thought we were the bad guys. After the interrogation, I stood up, and he thought I was going to hurt him. But I gave him a big hug,” Angel said, adding that he was able to convince the man that he’d been led astray, that U.S. soldiers weren’t his enemies.
Angel had a distinguished career in the Army: He was awarded an Iraq campaign medal with two campaign stars and an Army commendation medal (2nd award) among many others for his overseas deployments. Angel transitioned out of the Army in 2009 and returned back to Houston, his home town. Today, he has a wife and three beautiful daughters and works as a senior operations manager at a document company. He’s been out of the Army for more than a decade now. But he’s still coping with the effects of his PTSD. Angel decided he wanted to make a change. He knew he needed something to help him get out more and get active.
He thought a companion animal might be a good fit for his life, and so he started looking at different organizations that train dogs for veterans. “The one that stood out to me was Paws for Heroes,” he said, adding that he liked their mission, how they get funding and their standing in the community.
Angel was paired up with a stray white labrador mixed-breed male that was found abandoned—at a Houston transit center metro. Fosters from Red Collar Rescue found this sweet dog wandering around and couldn’t leave him. They took him home and named him “Metro.” Paws for Heroes evaluated him and knew he would be perfect for Angel. Metro has had a calming influence on Angel and those around him, he said. Angel takes Metro to work every day and Metro been a huge hit with co-workers and with Angel’s family. “He’s been very kind and gentle with all of my daughters….Since Metro been placed with us, he’s been nothing short of amazing”.