HOUSTON -- A Vietnam veteran who felt he had to give up his dog was reunited with him Wednesday thanks to kind-hearted volunteers at a local pet rescue group.

A hotel has been home to 60-year-old Larry Mitchell, his son and until recently his dog.

I didn t want him to suffer, said Mitchell. I wanted him to have a better place than what I have.

Mitchell, who says he served on the U.S.S. Enterprise and U.S.S. Lexington, has been struggling.

I lost my wife and things just went spiraling downhill, said Mitchell.

When he couldn't afford $500 for a vet, he gave his baby away to Poodle Rescue of Houston.

He cried, said Director Guinnette Peebles. He thought that was the last time he would ever see his dog in his life. Watching him sob, I was afraid something might happen to Larry when I took the dog.

The rescue group gave Tiger back to Larry on Wednesday. Volunteers took care of Tiger's fleas, ear infection and more. Jo Anne Peek gave him a bed, a blanket and a bag stuffed with medicines and food.

The group is 16 years old and adopts out 600 dogs a year. In this case, they adopted Tiger back to Larry.

For him (Larry) to be able to let go and get some help that s what tugged at us, said Peek. The best thing we could ve every done is reunite him with his dog and give him a reason to live.

Larry hugged his poodle.

This is my life right here, he said.

Through tears he said, I ve had Tiger since he was a baby. He s been with me through thick and thin. He s part of the family, like a kid.

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