Tony and Hadji's Story

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 11 to 20% of all combat veterans, dating back to Vietnam, have PTSD. Tony Austin served as an active duty Marine from 2006 to 2010. Most notably having served overseas for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) 2008 in Helmand Providence, Afghanistan with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). No one knows how, or to what extent, serving in a theater of combat will affect them.

Tony’s struggles aren’t just with PTSD, but with being a civilian again and constantly being made aware of how detrimental PTSD is to veterans in general. Having lost many brothers and sisters in arms to both war and PTSD Tony’s purpose and fulfillment in life that came with serving his country as an active duty Marine is over. Having Hadji, his PTSD dog, has empowered Tony to start doing things that were lost to him; from the simplicities of grocery shopping to attendance of his daughter’s sporting events. Having Hadji has not only given Tony a new outlook on life, but has led to countless encounters with so many people; civilians and veterans alike. Knowing how impactful having a PTSD service dog can be, for not only the veteran in need but their family as a whole.

Tony has founded Dog Tags and Capes, Inc. a new nonprofit organization in Kaukauna, WI designed to rescue dogs, train them to be PTSD service dogs, and unite the community and veterans around a central focus; dogs. Read more about Tony and Hadji by going to their website: dogtagsandcapes.com