CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A local veteran has worked hard to get off the streets and make himself a better life.
After years of being alone, Daniel Hinojosa finally has a companion.
“She's been a big help for my anxiety and my depression,” said Hinojosa.
She is Dulce, Hinojosa's five-month old German Shepherd. Dulce is reluctant to leave his side and provides emotional support. However, Hinojosa will soon move into a new apartment, one which doesn't take pets.
“They take service animals, but there's got to be proper documentation, and fees to be paid,” said Hinojosa.
About $400-$500 worth, Hinojosa estimates. After more than two decades of applying, the VA recently approved disability benefits for Hinojosa, but only at 10%. That’s barely enough to get by, and not nearly enough to get Dulce the training she needs.
“Over the years, even right now as we speak, there's a ringing in my ears,” said Hinojosa. “Even right now as we speak.”
That ringing comes from a severe case of tinnitus. Hinojosa served as a cook aboard the USS McKee. The conditions were loud and stressful, and things didn't get any better for Hinojosa once he was discharged from the Navy.
“A lot of struggling and dirt, sleeping on the streets, being homeless,” said Hinojosa.
Things are looking up. He’s off the streets and taking college classes. Hinojosa says he's not looking for a hand out, he's asking for a hand up.
“I’m a good guy, honorably discharged, clean background,” Hinojosa said. “I just need help.”
There are a number of non profits which help veterans get service or emotional support dogs, and have referred Hinojosa to them. We've also hooked him up with the county's Veterans Service Officer to get all the benefits he's entitled to.
We’ll keep you posted on his progress.