Clay County

Strangers help homeless Navy veteran and his dog

ORANGE PARK, Fla. — Samuel Young was once a Navy parachute rigger and traveled all over the country.

After leaving the military and moving to Alabama, he had a wife and kids and Young said he was always helping others in need.

Over the past year, Young was the one in need and help came in the form of four legs.

Six years ago, Young took in his pit bull Sargent as a service dog.

Sarge was all Young had when he found himself homeless a year ago and left Alabama for Orange Park. He was hopping between friends’ houses until just last month.

”We were freezing. Last week we had a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter.”

Young was completely homeless. But this past month it was Sarge who needed the service even more. His pit came down with an eye and skin infection and Young did not have the means to help.

”He lost half his hair and his eyes were ‘gunked’ up. He was walking into fences. He was blind almost,” Young told Action News Jax’s, Robert Grant. “I love him to death. I don’t know what I would do without him.”

A post in the Facebook group, “Lost Pets of Jacksonville” was what changed the course. Thousands of comments from all over the world got Sarge the help he needed.

”I got him to be my service dog. This last year I ended up having to be his service dog,” Young said. “Warms my heart. Just like any of your children if they’re sick, you want them to feel better.”

Because of the support, Sarge got the help he needed and now he’s with Young with a roof over their heads at an Orange Park Inn.

Young lived in the area for about 25 years while serving in the military. Now Five STAR Veterans is offering a more permanent place for him to stay starting next week.

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