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United States Marine Sgt. John Peck along with (Credit: newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara)

United States Marine Sgt. John Peck along with his mother Lisa, puts a collar on his service dog "Nasar" on his bed in his dorm room at the Miller Family Campus of "Canine Companions for independence"

Medford nonprofit teams up veterans, dogs

Canine Companions for Independence, a Medford nonprofit, is teaming up veterans with dogs that will become their closest and perhaps most loyal companions helping them cope, mentally and physically.

Marine Corps Sgt. John M. Peck, 26, plays
(Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara)

Marine Corps Sgt. John M. Peck, 26, plays with Nasar, the Labrador retriever who is his new service dog and new best friend, in his dorm room at Canine Companions for Independence, a Medford nonprofit that provides assistance dogs for the disabled, including veterans.

Marine Corps Sgt. John M. Peck, 26, activates
(Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara)

Marine Corps Sgt. John M. Peck, 26, activates an electric doorway with the help of his new service dog Nasar at Canine Companions for Independence, a Medford nonprofit that provides assistance dogs for the disabled, including veterans. Peck lost major parts of all four of his limbs two years ago when he stepped on an explosive device in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

Marine Corps Sgt. John M. Peck, 26, hugs
(Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara)

Marine Corps Sgt. John M. Peck, 26, hugs his new service dog Nasar at Canine Companions for Independence in Medford. “He’s hyper as hell, which is fun because he has so much energy,” Peck says of his Labrador retriever mix. “It keeps me in good spirits. Hopefully, I can teach him to catch a girl for me."

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Marine Corps Sgt. John Peck, 26, negotiates a
(Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara)

Marine Corps Sgt. John Peck, 26, negotiates a doorway with his new service dog Nasar at Canine Companions for Independence in Medford. Service dogs can be valuable in helping war-injured troops overcome physical limitations and a sense of emotional isolation, experts say.

Retired Army Capt. James Van Thach, 36, of
(Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara)

Retired Army Capt. James Van Thach, 36, of Bellerose sits with his new service dog Liz at Canine Companions for Independence in Medford. The Labrador retriever mix will help him cope with the consequences of a brain injury suffered during a 2008 rocket attack near Iraq’s border with Iran.

Retired Army Capt. James Van Thach, 36, of
(Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara)

Retired Army Capt. James Van Thach, 36, of Bellerose stands with his new service dog Liz at Canine Companions for Independence in Medford. “I’m building a trust relationship with her. She can be a buffer for me, and help me feel calmer in public situations,” Van Thach says.

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