Warrior canines on the homefront

Jake Tapper, Richard Coolidge & Sherisse Pham
Power Players

Political Punch

On this Memorial Day weekend our thoughts are with those who have sacrificed in battle, and also with those who are still with us, many still adjusting to the wounds sustained in battle. This week, we look at a brand new program in the military that brings man's best friend to the aid of our wounded warriors.

"President Truman once said if you want a friend in Washington get a dog, that's why I have Bravo," said Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. "But I also have a Panetta corollary to that which is that if you really want to keep a secret, tell it to a dog."

Panetta was speaking to the trainers of some real canine stars. The dogs are being taught how to help wounded warriors open doors, pick up wallets, dollar bills, and credit cards, and even turn on lights. The new program employs wounded veterans to train these  so-called 'warrior canines' that eventually go on to help fellow wounded servicemen and women adjusting to various prosthetics and mobility challenges.

"When I first got to the program last year, some of the puppies they were like, 'What is that?'" said Sergeant Brian Bradley, gesturing to his prosthetic arm, which has an adjustable, mechanical hook. "Also we introduced the wheelchairs to them too, and the power chairs.  We got another guy who is in a power wheelchair and yesterday we were training him, training the dogs, and they walk along the chair ... You don't want them to get run over."

Check out this week's Political Punch to see these devoted dogs and puppies, in action, and to hear how the trainers find solace and new purpose in this work.

ABC's Mosheh Gains contributed to this report.