Barry Briggs loves his dog. In return, Coco is a steadfast friend, and a helpful companion.
As a therapy dog, the 9-month old Australian Shepherd also provides Briggs with support and assistance. Briggs spent 14 years in the military, attained the rank of Sergeant First Class, served in Afghanistan, and later worked as a recruiter before he was given a medical retirement. He now relies on Coco every single day.
“Transitioning from Active Duty military service to civilian life was indeed a life-changer,” Briggs told Space Coast Daily. “For almost 15 years, you have a routine. Be here and do this at said time, etc. Service members cannot wait for that retirement date. Once you that date commences, it’s a revelation.
“I experienced service dogs while seeking treatment at the Walter Reed Medical Center,” he continued. “They have no judgment. They see you. They are open to you. They love you.”
Briggs truly loves Coco, which is why it was so heartbreaking when his dog disappeared.
According to Fox 35, a sliding door in Briggs’ house was left open, and Coco managed to escape. Like most concerned pet parents, Briggs and his family put up missing dog posters around their Merritt Island, Florida, neighborhood. They posted on social media, they called local shelters.
No one had heard or seen anything from Coco, until a few days later. Thanks to a quick-eyed stranger on Facebook, Coco was found and returned to his rightful owner.
“We got her!!!!!!!!” Briggs posted to Facebook. “She was so happy to see us! There are so many people to thank. The outpouring of support was nothing short of amazing. It’s so great to have her home. I can’t wait for the boys to see her when they get home. I wish I can tag you all but you know who you are!”
Briggs and Coco are together once more, and the Sergeant First Class couldn’t be happier.
“Regardless of race, age, religion, they are there for you. I could’ve never expected this kind of love from Coco,” Briggs said. “She gave me, and still does give me, that sense of comfort. My wife and boys are my WHY in life. I do everything for them. Coco is now a member of my family. She is now apart of my, our, WHY.”
Learn more in the video below.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.