Duval County

Jacksonville Army veteran and his service dog receive new home

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — On Monday, a local Army veteran and his service dog received a new home to help him make a new beginning.

This came about through a partnership between K9s for Warriors and JWB Realty, who donated the house.

We caught up with James Rutland while he was finally holding the keys to his brand-new home.

Rutland told Action News Jax he can’t get over the joy he’s feeling. Moving forward, he won’t have to worry about paying rent anymore.

“Instead, someone has given me this amazing free home. It’s home. It’s not a room. It’s a place to stay. It’s a home. It’s a place to start a life,” Rutland said.

He’s also a warrior trainer with K9s for Warriors, an organization dedicated to preventing veteran suicide and helping those battling PTSD.

Rutland spent 12 years in the military and he grew up in Jacksonville.

In just a few weeks, he’ll move into his new home that’s only six miles from where he grew up in Arlington.

This donated home is part of a partnership between K9s for Warriors and JWB Realty’s “Welcome Home Warrior” charity golf event.

Inside his new home, he has a kitchen complete with new appliances, bedrooms to start a family, and a backyard for his service dog, Dunkin.

Before Rutland joined the organization, he struggled with depression, suicidal thoughts and took too many prescription drugs.

“I didn’t know how to deal with regular situations like a regular human, you know. Anger for me was I was either zero and didn’t care, or I was 100 and I was going to break something,” Rutland said.

Once he was paired with Dunkin, his life didn’t just improve; it was saved.

Now he’s looking forward to starting a new life with his fiancé.

“It’s not mine that she’s moving into, it’s not hers that I’m moving into; it’s ours that we’re moving into together. And we can work together to make it our home instead of just a place that we stay, you know,” he said.

This is the third home that JWB Realty has donated in its partnership with K9s for Warriors.

For more information on how you can support organizations like K9s for Warriors, you can click HERE.