EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) —The power of man’s best friend, a Coast Guard veteran turned his life around with the help of a four-legged friend.

U.S. Coast Guard veteran Joe Wester’s life turned around after meeting a dog named Betsy.

“I told myself that if I saw anything, anything that would help me, or could help me, that I would take it,” stated Wester.

Wester was in the guard for 12 years when an accident injured him both physically and mentally. He admits once he got out of the military he was lost. He’d been in the Coast Guard since high school and felt he didn’t have the tools to make it work as a civilian. It got so bad, he planned to take his own life.

But then he saw an ad on a soda cup for K9s for Warriors, an organization that pairs vets with service dogs like Betsy. He entered the program for K9s for Warriors, found his way to Betsy, and now sees life through a clearer lens.

“I would not have survived had it not been for the cup and the phone call, I wouldn’t be here. It’s like a wound that heals, you don’t realize that it’s good until you take the band-aid off. After a year it really sunk in, like we’re part of a team, we can work together,” said Wester.

And they do work together, every day. Betsy travels to work with Wester at his job as a tool designer. She’s there in his moments of need and Wester wants other vets who are struggling to know that there is help when they’re in need too.

“Talking is such a powerful thing, you’re not just letting yourself out, you’re letting other people in. And sometimes that’s kind of what needs to happen. In my case, I needed to know that there were other people out there who could support me in a time when I needed support,” described Wester.

K9’s for Warriors is the largest provider of service dogs for vets in the nation.

You can find more information at K9s for Warriors’ website.