New Castle News

TOP STORIES

April 8, 2013

‘He has given me a life’: Vietnam veteran finds stability, friendship in service dog

NEW CASTLE — Lambert the Labrador Retriever is a bundle of energy.

Constantly in motion, the chocolate-colored 2-year-old uses his big, brown eyes to plead with his owner, David Hoover, to throw a ball to him or join him in a tug-of-war with one of his many other toys.

But when Hoover quietly says, “Lambert, stop, Lambert, stay,” the rambunctious dog’s muscular 90-pound body comes to a screeching halt, as does the incessant wagging of his tail.

In an instant, Lambert goes from playful pup to a service dog with a job to do.

“It’s tough,” said Hoover, “because your instinct is to treat him like a pet, but you have to get stern with him at times so he can understand it’s time to do what he’s there to do.”

DOING A SERVICE

What Lambert is there to do is to help the 65-year-old Hoover with his post-traumatic stress disorder, a result of the time the retired Marine Corps sergeant spent in Vietnam from 1967-68.

On Aug. 3, 1968, at Contien, Quang Tri Provence, the 1965 New Castle High graduate, who grew up on the city’s East Side, was on the first day of his second tour of duty when a bunker he was in took a direct hit. He found himself buried under sand bags and wooden beams.

“I was in total darkness and kept wondering if I was dead,” Hoover said. “I could hear the Marines above saying that they needed to dig me out, but most likely I hadn’t survived.”

Hours later, he found himself looking at the sky as the base doctor told him he had a broken thigh and would be choppered out. It was many years later that he was diagnosed with PTSD.

Hoover admits he did his share of drinking after he left the service in 1971, then became a workaholic, isolating himself and attempting suicide on several occasions when he felt that life had overwhelmed him. He was forced to have his esophagus removed as a result of after-effects of Agent Orange he encountered in Vietnam.

“I was just a very angry person,” he said. “I was angry at everyone who crossed my path.”

It was 12 years ago when Hoover saw a story on the television news about dogs who could help PTSD victims cope. That led to the adoption of Granite, also a chocolate Lab.

Jane, his wife of nearly 25 years, stuck by him through it all and, finally, the couple began to get some relief when Granite came onto the scene.

“From Day 1, Granite was the perfect dog,” David said. “He was passive and very trainable.”

Granite’s reception in New Castle and the surrounding area was not a good one at first.

“People weren’t used to service dogs all those years ago,” Jane said. “We were questioned on many occasions when we tried to take him into restaurants and stores.”

As Granite began to age, David realized he needed a backup.

“Now with Lambert, we rarely, if ever, are questioned when we take him in somewhere,” Jane said, adding with a chuckle, “our biggest problem is that waitresses want to bring him food and water and he can’t accept anything when he’s working.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
TOP STORIES
  • VerySpecial.jpg Jameson Hoyt Atrium display spotlights artwork of special needs kids and adults

    Artwork from dozens of area students will take center stage Thursday in the Hoyt Atrium of Jameson Hospital. The Very Special Arts exhibit will kick off with an opening reception at 5 p.m., and the works will remain on display in the glass-enclosed walkway through Oct. 4.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • DougDanko.jpg Census shows county population getting older

    Lawrence County’s population continues to get older. However, it is not alone, as Pennsylvania overall is aging.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • backpackproject.jpg Councilman picks up tab to help lunch program

    Participants of a local summer feeding program are eating this week courtesy of New Castle City Councilman Tim Fulkerson. On Friday morning, the truck dispatched from New Castle to pick up about 3,500 pounds of items from the Pittsburgh Food Bank broke down as it arrived at its destination.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CRESTVIEW.jpg Outreach: Churches plan to host picnic for residents of Crestview Gardens

    Volunteers from several area churches are banding together in hopes of bringing peace to a troubled neighborhood.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • money.jpg Council OKs funds to remove dead trees

    New Castle City Council has approved spending funds from its contingency account to remove some trees at Darlington Park. Marshall Tree Experts of Ellwood City has given an estimate of $12,000 to remove the large elm trees from the Mahoningtown park.

     
     

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • 12.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Night light

    The balloons may have been on the ground but spirits were soaring.

     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • StateFair.jpg 'State Fair' coming to Playhouse

    The fair is coming to town. No, not the Lawrence County Fair, although that is right around the corner. This is the Iowa State Fair, and it will be live on the stage of the New Castle Playhouse for three weeks, starting Friday night.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • accountant.jpg DeLorenzo’s status with authority unchanged

    Deno DeLorenzo’s status as a contract employee with the New Castle Sanitation Authority remains unchanged. Authority board members met with DeLorenzo last week regarding an investigation by the Lawrence County district attorney’s office involving Shenango Township funds.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting.jpg Detroit area man dies in Ellwood City gunfire

    A triple shooting in an Ellwood City street has claimed the life of a Detroit area man. Gunfire erupted in the middle of Loop Street outside the Walnut Ridge housing project around 10:20 p.m. Sunday, according to state police.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baptism1.jpg Dipped downtown

    John the Baptist identified himself as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ ” On Saturday, local evangelist Randy Crum once again took a cue from the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, eschewing the locusts and honey that John was known to munch on but heading out into the wilds to baptize believers and challenge them to share their faith with their community.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

House Ads
Poll

Would you want to know what your pet is thinking about you?

Yes! I'd love to know what my pet is thinking.
Nah, it's probably not that interesting.
I don't know. I'm afraid of what I might find out.
     View Results