Three years ago, Marine Peter Coukoulis was serving at Helmand Province in Afghanistan when an IED killed two members of his unit — a fellow soldier and a bomb detection dog. The loss left Peter suffering from PTSD.

His mother, Dena, told the Daily Mail:

“He doesn’t really sleep because when he does, he has nightmares about it all.

He can’t be in large crowds, he’s very emotional about his country and always says he feels that he should’ve done more.”

Dena’s heart broke for her son and it also filled with worry. According to the Military Times, research shows that the suicide rate for veterans is 21% higher than for the average American.

Related: Injured Veteran’s Service Dog Is ‘Best Man’ At His Wedding

Peter is an animal lover and Dena is aware of the evidence showing that dogs have a profound effect on those suffering from PTSD, whether that dog is a pet, emotional support animal, or a service dog trained to perform specific tasks.

A week ago, Dena gifted her son with a tiny beagle puppy — a puppy she hopes will save his life.

She also told the Daily Mail:

“‘He’s made great strides for recovery over the past few years, and this pup will be a huge step towards him reclaiming his life back.”

It’s already clear that Dena is right about the impact the puppy will have on her son. Peter named the pupper “Willa,” which is short for “will to live.”

A video posted by Dena Coukoulis (@dhcdesigns) on

We know Peter and Willa will be best friends for years to come. We wish them both the happiest of lives together.

A photo posted by Dena Coukoulis (@dhcdesigns) on


Header images: Screenshots via Rumble (left, center) / Instagram (right)

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