NEW ORLEANS — Two years ago, the Sanchez family got a puppy German Shepherd and named her Dallas.
"I remember the night that we got her. I stayed up for almost like two nights straight watching her," remembers Cerenity Sanchezes, 12, Dallas' former owner.
Last year, however, because of a family situation the Sanchezes could no longer care for her.
"When I called the SPCA to surrender her, I was sad, you know, and didn't want to do it but I knew it was the only option at that point," said Alexandrea Sanchez, Cerenity's mother.
But I made one call to Bill Barse of Dog Gone Express, and Dallas was on her way to a new life.
Barse's non-profit organization pulls homeless dogs from shelters and brings them to be trained by inmates with the Louisiana Department of Corrections. Then, they are then given free to veterans in need.
"For the offender, not only do they learn responsibility, but they learn conflict resolution. They learn unconditional (love). They learn patience and they also learn skills on how to assess a situation as opposed to judge a situation, which is very important in their post incarceration life," said Barse.
Today, Dallas finished with basic training at Rayburn Correctional Center in Angie, Louisiana, so we invited the Sanchezes to the Jefferson Animal Shelter, where the dog was handed off for her new purpose: Her new family, to service Kuy, a U.S. Army Veteran from Baton Rouge with PTSD after suffering a traumatic brain injury.
"It means the world to me. When we were discussing looking for a service animal, I never, I didn't know where it was going to go. And honestly, my biggest fear is I want to make sure that Dallas gets everything that she needs. Just being here she's already a great comfort to me," Kuy said.
"It means the world like, you know, the fact that she's going to help him and everything. It's just going to be so great," said Kuy wife, Marisha.
For 12-year-old Cerenity Sanchez, there were tears from the heart but wisdom from her soul.
"I'm also happy because it's better for her to be helping people than for her to be sitting in a back yard," Cerenity said, and then fell into her mother's arms with tears.
"I just can't believe it, how it's come full circle. I think she was meant to do this," said Alexandrea.
And now two families, both originally from Texas, promise to stay in touch and share family photos.
For more on how you can help Dog Gone Express continue its program: