images of veterans’ loyal service dogs being specially sent off on the last flight home

 A fellow veteran suggested he try getting a service dog. Cole brought home Kaya, the runt of her litter, and spent $10,000 of his own money to have her trained as a service dog.

It was well worth it: Kaya was trained to wake the vet up from nightmares and to stop anxiety attacks, and Cole has said the dog has made a huge difference on his condition, and even credits her with stopping his suicidal thoughts.

“A dog can be a powerful thing to keep you around,” he said. “If you get to that point, you look down at the dog and say, well, I can’t leave the dog. The dog would miss me.”

Kaya not only made an impact on Cole’s life, but for veterans around the country. After Cole became an advisor to the US Senate on veterans policies, the pair lobbied for the PAWS Act, which provides canine training for veterans with PTSD.

That act was passed into law in August 2021, receiving bipartisan support.

Kaya lived quite a life: she met many politicians and celebrities, walked at graduation with Cole, and accompanied the vet on hundreds of flights around the country.

But it wasn’t just any ordinary flight. They flew on Southwest Airlines, with whom they had traveled over 250 times. After finding out that this was Kaya’s final journey, the airline did something inspiring to mark the occasion.

On the February 2 flight, the pilot got on the intercom and made a special announcement. He introduced Kaya, explaining to the travellers her work as a service dog and her work to get the PAWS Act passed.

He then explained he had the “solemn honor of what will be her last flight, as she goes home to rest where she was born and first met Cole.”

“On behalf of Southwest Airlines, your two veterans up front, we thank both Maya and Cole… for their service.”

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