Article previously published at by Jen Steer.

Two military veterans and their four-legged friends brought their 6,000-mile, cross-country journey to Cleveland on Monday.

Marine veteran Dan Spangler, and Army Ranger veteran Joe Trainor, Jr. are raising awareness and money for “Operation: Keep You Spanky.” The nonprofit provides assistance to military families so they can keep their pets during tough financial times.

Spangler, a Cleveland native, was injured in Iraq and said his dog helped in his recovery.

“I don’t know where I would be without the companionship that my dog, Spanky, gave me when I came home from Iraq,” Spangler said in a news release. “I want all veterans to have a Spanky, but it’s a sad fact that military veterans often experience financial difficulties where they face the heartbreaking choice of giving up their pets.”

Spangler’s other travel companion, Trainor, is going blind from a traumatic brain injury he suffered in Afghanistan. He contemplated suicide, but his dog, C.T., saved his life.

For more information on “Operation: Keep Your Spanky,” click here.

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