ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) Atlanta United's newest addition to the team roster has a unique mission to help veterans.
“One of our core values as an organization is giving back to others through a lot of different means, we've really focused on giving back to the men and woman who served our country,” said Catie Griggs with the major league soccer team.
When you combine that desire to help veterans with their love for dogs it results in a partnership with America's Vet Dogs, making Atlanta United the first major league soccer team to raise a service dog that will eventually go to a veteran in need.
Joseph Worley was a previous recipient of a service dog from the organization.
“I was doing a medivac and the first vehicle in our convoy was hit by a roadside bomb. I jumped out to go out and try to help and I was hit on foot with a second roadside bomb,” said Worley.
Worley’s left leg was amputated below his knee. He says for years he struggled to get around, but after getting his service dog all of that changed.
“It was a game changer for me. So you go from being the guy who everybody comes to for help and then all of a sudden you are the guy who needs an awful lot of help,” added Worley.
The process to bread, raise and train the dogs cost about $50,000 but it’s completely free for veterans.
To make sure the team's dog, Spike, is ready help a veteran like Worley, he will spend the next 14-16 months with Atlanta United.
“He’s going to be socialized with the team here, whether it’s at practice or at events throughout Atlanta with the purpose of becoming a service dog,” said John Miller with America's Vet Dogs.
To follow Spike’s journey, visit atlutd.com/pup.
Also because the program is free, Miller says they are always in need of donations and volunteers. For more information, click here.