Dog finds home and spot in emotional, physical rehabilitation program for military members

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. -- Eric Cohen and his family found Vader, their dog, in July when he jumped into Cohen's son's kayak on the Elk River. After he received some much-needed TLC from a veterinarian, Cohen said he believed Vader had a calling to serve a different kind of 'vet'.

"Right now, we're just getting him used to being beside somebody who's fishing," Cohen said. "I'm hoping that he will be a good alert system when I do have a veteran out on the water, that he can stand beside him and give a bark if attention needs to be paid."

Cohen leads the local chapter of the Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. It's an emotional and physical rehabilitation program for disabled active military and veterans.

"We teach fly tying, casting, we get the guys out on the water for some fishing outings," Cohen said.

Cohen added that so far, Vader is doing well with learning the ropes.

"I had him out on the water for the first time with one of the guys in my local group," Cohen said. "He sat down right next to my guy while he fished."

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing is a non-profit organization that serves disabled veterans and active duty military members who are considered at least 30 percent disabled. Those who meet this criteria do not have to pay anything to enjoy all that the organization offers.

The group meets on the first and third Mondays of each month. If you or someone you know are interested in these services, you can find more information at