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Tomorrow: Warmer w/ Increasing P.M. Clouds & A Little Breezy.
High: 67 Winds: SE 3-6 mph
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Bittersweet Union For Soldier and Service Dog
XENIA -- A brave soldier who lost his legs fighting for our country now embarks on another life-changing experience. Our cameras were there Monday morning when Capt. Jake Murphy was united with his service dog at 4 Paws For Ability in Xenia.
Murphy had been waiting for a service dog. He lost his legs in Afghanistan in July 2011. After meeting his new dog, Gabriel, he knew his life was about to once again change.
"It's been a long road. I've had my wife by my side, which has helped a lot," he said.
But now the Army captain and his wife, Lisa, will have Gabriel to lend a helping paw.
Gabriel is one of about a dozen service dogs who met their new families for the first time Monday, at the 4 Paws training center.
"I think he's going to help my mobility, especially with stairs and steep hills. And I think he'll be a very good friend, too," Murphy said.
"It's really cool to be able to help someone who sacrificed so much of their own freedom for someone else," said Karen Shirk, 4 Paws for Ability executive director.
But this story isn't just about a soldier getting a service dog. The German shepherd was supposed to be for a man named Derek, the soldier who saved Murphy's life. Moments later, he too had his legs blown off by an IED.
Derek and Murphy were in the hospital together, but Derek died a few months ago. Murphy just got out of the hospital Saturday.
"It was mixed emotions. I was excited to get a dog myself, but I still mourned Derek's loss. It's a tragic situation," said Murphy.
It's a bittersweet moment that he and his wife know they can overcome, with Gabriel's help.
Murphy and his wife will return to their home in Maryland after two weeks of training at 4 Paws For Ability.
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