BRAZOS COUNTY, TX — Grizz is a one-year-old wolf-dog who will be building bonds with veterans.
These bonds will help ease his shyness while also helping veterans deal with some of the traumatic events they experienced while serving.
About three dozen wolf-dogs roam Twin Rivers Wolf and Wolf Dog Sanctuary in Grimes County.
"They are not for everybody but they're wonderful animals and you can do a lot with them if you spend the time," Catherine Howell, founder of Twin Rivers Wolf and Wolf Dog Sanctuary said.
Catherine Howell, the founder of Twin Rivers Wolf and Wolf Dog Sanctuary, is a military wife who has had wolf-dogs for more than two decades.
She's seen firsthand how it's helped her husband cope.
Now she's taking her non-profit sanctuary to the next level by adding programs to help other veterans who suffer.
"I care about people that are hurting," Howell said.
Howell is partnering with Drew Robertson who combined the world of wolf dogs and mental health therapy for veterans in Colorado with his non-profit, Mattersville.
"What we do for them is more peer-driven, rather than the traditional therapy. It's pack healing with other veterans and animals that have gone through trauma and everybody coming back and bringing each other back together," Drew Robertson, Executive Director, Mattersville said.
The two wolf-dog lovers met when Robertson added Grizz's sister to his non-profit. The two eventually became friends and decided to work together.
"She's got a big passion for helping people and helping veterans and animals alike," Robertson said.
The program provides housing for the veterans donating their time caring for the wolf-dogs. They eventually get to move into their own sustainable tiny house.
"I've met the veterans. They've come down and they've started building. These are wonderful people that are just trying to make it in life like all of us," Howell said.
Allowing the veterans to heal themselves while also putting their four-legged friends at ease.
Not only do they need help, but I need help on the property, and I think we could be a good team you know, working together for the animals and for them so it all works together," Howell said.
While the residential program is exclusive to veterans, anyone can tour the sanctuary to get their own sense of mental health therapy by visiting these special animals for free. The non-profits rely on donations.
Twin Rivers plans to have their program up and running by the end of the summer.
The sanctuary also focuses on educating more people on wolf-dogs.