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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 12

Carlos had also to come to terms with the fact that his life after the Marine Corps looked nothing like he thought it would when he enlisted as a kid.

“In Chicago I was a punk teenager, and I needed change. The Marine Corps was a way out. Where I was headed in my life, it was a bad route. I joined the Marine Corps to stay alive. I was ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 11

Our sleepy, overcast Sunday morning eased into a sunny afternoon, and Carlos and Logan were headed off to see a Padres baseball game in downtown San Diego - an invitation from a fellow Marine.

Carlos told me he and Logan had been to only one public sporting event since he returned from Iraq. It was another Padres game, and the experience drained him.

“It’s not easy. I don’t go ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 10

As our conversation at the Carlsbad coffee house winded down, a palm frond fell from a tree onto a nearby table.

The loud bang quieted the patio of voices, until the embarrassed laughter of diners being scared over nothing broke the silence.

I turned back to face Carlos. He was looking down at his hands. Logan had moved from his comfortable position beneath the table, and was now resting his ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 9

Meribeth Russell sited a statistic about Freedom Dogs of which she is most proud.

“Nothing is guaranteed, and there are always people you wish you could’ve done a little more for. They’re like family and we follow them for life. But I can tell you we’re 100 percent in one regard- not one of our participants has committed suicide.”

I found this statistic particularly impressive, considering the ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 8

When Carlos first started attending training sessions at Freedom Dogs, he felt he didn’t fit in. Big reason: Carlos was afraid of dogs. He didn’t like them, and he believed they didn’t like him. In the tough, gang-infested Chicago streets where Carlos grew up, dogs were treated more as weapons than pets.

A big part of Freedom Dogs is getting a shell-shocked troop to trust him or ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 7

A critical care nurse and veteran’s daughter named Meribeth Russell started Freedom Dogs in 2006.

Russell got the idea when she participated in a hospital study that found obese children who were able to bond with a therapy dog had an easier time losing weight.

Russell decided to translate that study into something that could help the disabled veterans returning from Iraq. She pleaded with the leadership at Camp ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 6

Without the distractions of combat, symptoms of PTSD began plaguing Carlos’s everyday life. He began to drink heavily to blot out the depression and anxiety he was feeling.

And the guilt.

When Carlos was in Iraq, he didn’t know the villagers were mostly uneducated and illiterate. The Iraqis traveling the road it was his job to protect couldn’t read the signs posted by the American military.

The ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 5

In the days following the suicide car bombing in 2004, Carlos didn’t feel angry. He didn’t feel frightened. He didn’t even mourn the men who were so brutally killed that day. Carlos didn’t feel anything at all. He was completely numb.

He learned to detach himself from his own well-being. He accepted what he assumed was his impending death; it was clear to him he would ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 4

There was a shyness about Carlos, despite his intimidating appearance. Muscles earned from years of required physical fitness bulge under his black shirt, his sleeves pushed up to his elbows to reveal a maze of tattoos covering both of his forearms.

Shiny rhinestones rested in each of his earlobes, and a steal post pierced the area below his lower lip.

Carlos nodded bashfully, and greeted me in a quiet voice ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 2

“A man, well, he'll walk right into Hell with both eyes open. But even the devil can't fool a dog.” -Earl Hamner, Jr.


PART II

The Mercedes, filled with what turned out to be 200 pounds of explosives, smashed into the Humvee. The blast incinerated both vehicles. The only part of the Humvee that remained was its sizzling engine block.

The force of the explosion knocked Carlos unconscious ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 1

“A man, well, he'll walk right into Hell with both eyes open. But even the devil can't fool a dog.” -Earl Hamner, Jr.


PART I

“It wasn’t the best idea.”

Carlos Cruz was part of a three-vehicle convoy patrolling the scorching, silent Iraqi desert.

Carlos, a Marine lance corporal at the time, was in the rear of the convoy, lying down in the back seat of a ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Prologue

“A man, well, he'll walk right into Hell with both eyes open. But even the devil can't fool a dog.” -Earl Hamner, Jr.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) have been called the hallmark wounds of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to a 2008 Rand study, one in five American service members who’ve been deployed in the post-9/11 wars suffer from ...

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Could Your Dog Be The 2015 Military Pet Of The Year?

Time is running out to enter Dogs on Deployment's "2015 Military Pet of the Year" contest.

The deadline to enter your pooch in the contest is Jan. 31.

Click here for more info on how to enter.

Dogs on Deployment is a non-profit group that helps find temporary homes for the beloved canines--and kitties--of troops during their deployments. The folks there explain the purpose of the annual contest this ...

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Therapy Dogs Would Help Veterans With PTSD Under New Bill

Veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder could help train therapy dogs for other veterans under a pilot program being considered by Congress.

The Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act, introduced by Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers, would put in place a pilot program at several VA medical facilities. These VA facilities would then connect veterans suffering from PTSD with organizations that train therapy dogs for physically disabled vets.

Stivers said in a ...

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