CLARENCE, N.Y. (WKBW) — Mondays can be terrible. Chris Kreiger's Monday was especially terrible. Next to his desk lays an empty bed. It's where his best friend would rest next to him.
“Bubba, I thought, was one of those dogs that was going to live forever,” said Kreiger.
Bubba was a pit bull-boxer mix. The 8-year-old dog died unexpectedly over the weekend. Bubba wasn't Krieger's pet, he was his service dog. The dog helped Krieger, an army veteran, cope with his post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Bubba was like a dog that can't be compared to any other dogs,” said Kreiger.
Krieger is the head of WNY Heroes. The non-profit has a program called “Pawsitive for Heroes.” It pairs vets with dogs that are trained to be service dogs. Bubba was the first dog trained through the program.
“His face was everywhere. Everywhere we went in WNY everyone knew Bubba,” added Kreiger.
Now, dozens of veterans have service animals by their side, thanks to “Pawsitive for Heroes.”
“When we get veterans that come in here and they’re thinking about joining the program, they're always a little hesitant, until Bubba came around the corner. And they realize, “wow. That's what I can have right there,” said Kreiger.
Kreiger says it takes $5,000 to train a service dog. “Pawsitive for Heroes” runs on donations. The program doesn't receive any government grants.
It's going to be tough for Kreiger without Bubba by his side. But, he hopes the memory of his dog, helps other vets find their Bubba.