SAN DIEGO — A San Diego group is taking strides to help homeless veterans get back on their feet with the help of some four-legged friends.
One of those vets is former Marine Corp veteran, Robert Hain, who takes daily walks with Bass, his dog. The walks have become a form of therapy.
"I don't have to say anything. He is always listening to me, always watching me," said Hain.
The pals met just months ago through Cammies and Canines, which pairs rescue dogs with veterans who are struggling to transition back into civilian life. And in Hain's case, like so many others, he found himself living on the street.
"It was tough for me because all I know is the military," he said.
On Monday, members of Cammies and Canines were preparing for their second annual hike to raise money. The organization aims to restore a sense of community to get vets back on the right track and the non-profit created a sanctuary in Dulzura to help with their mission.
For the second year in a row, a group plans to hike for 11 days straight while carrying dozens of pounds of equipment – every element holding a significant meaning.
“We are hiking 22 miles a day for the 22 veterans on average who commit suicide a day. The pack we carry is 50 pounds which represents that a veteran is 50% more likely to commit suicide than those who did not serve," said Nathan Schoemer.
Last year, people from all over jumped in to do parts of the hike with the group. It is the unexpected support that kept the sanctuary going, as they hiked from north Los Angeles to San Diego to raise money for their cause.
For Hain, it is the first big exercise since leaving the military and he said he is ready.
Whether on two legs or four the group plans to continue moving forward one step at a time towards a better life for every service man and woman.
“We are going to do everything to carry this weight to help these veterans because we are veterans and we understand it. We can't do it on our own. We need the support of the community," said Schoemer.
The hike will begin Friday at Point Magu and they plan to end on Veterans Day at Petco Park.