TAMPA (FOX 13) - Mark and Molly have a very special bond. Their friendship goes far beyond the typical human-pet relationship.
"We pretty much do everything together. You talk about the old adage of boy meets dog; you're looking at it," said veteran Mark Starr.
Molly provides Mark with the emotional support he needs to get through each day. Mark is a Navy and Air Force veteran who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, and Molly is the one thing that keeps his anxiety and depression at bay.
"If I'm having difficulty or having a hard day, she's right on me. She wants to play and she gets me out of bed," said Mark.
Mark and Molly's friendship is give and take. Before he adopted her a year ago, Molly was a stray found walking the streets after Hurricane Irma.
"She has anxiety. She's definitely scared of thunderstorms. So, we have to work together when we have bad days," said Mark. "I play a little classical music for her, and I get down on the ground and hug her until until the storm goes."
It’s a perfect match made possible by Pets For Patriots, a non-profit organization connecting veterans and shelter animals. The mission: end animal homeless in the U.S. while giving military veterans and their families the extraordinary love of a pet.
"Molly, she's been my anchor. I don’t know where I’d be without her," Mark said.
Mark has taught Molly a few things, including how to walk on a leash. Now, it's one of her favorite things to do.
"We go on five walks a day. She's got a wristwatch, I swear. Five walks a day,.rain or shine," said Mark.
And even on the most dreary days, Molly gives Mark reason to smile.
"Let's face it. Waking up with a face like this is pretty hard to have a bad day," he added.
If you or someone you know could benefit from Pets For Patriots, click over to their website.