Support our mission
 
Cast of the new TV show "The Village" visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. Here, actor Warren Christie pets one of the puppies at WCC.
Cast of the new TV show "The Village" visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. Here, actor Warren Christie pets one of the puppies at WCC. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Cast of the new TV show "The Village" visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. Here, actor Warren Christie pets one of the puppies at WCC.
Cast of the new TV show "The Village" visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. Here, actor Warren Christie pets one of the puppies at WCC. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Cast of the new TV show "The Village" visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. Here, military consultant Jamel Daniels plays with one of the WCC puppies.
Cast of the new TV show "The Village" visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. Here, military consultant Jamel Daniels plays with one of the WCC puppies. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Cast of the new TV show "The Village" visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. Here, Dominic Chianese, known for his roles in the Sopranos and The Godfather II, holds one of the puppies at WCC.
Cast of the new TV show "The Village" visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. Here, Dominic Chianese, known for his roles in the Sopranos and The Godfather II, holds one of the puppies at WCC. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Jennifer Blessing shows the cast of the new TV show "The Village" about service dogs and their role helping veterans during a visit to Warrior Canine Connection on Nov. 10, 2018. The show will air in 2019.
Jennifer Blessing shows the cast of the new TV show "The Village" about service dogs and their role helping veterans during a visit to Warrior Canine Connection on Nov. 10, 2018. The show will air in 2019. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Actor Warren Christie, left, and military consultant Jamel Daniels, right, part of the cast of the new TV show "The Village," visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019.
Actor Warren Christie, left, and military consultant Jamel Daniels, right, part of the cast of the new TV show "The Village," visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Cast of the new TV show "The Village" visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. From left to right: actors Daren Kagasoff, Dominic Chianese and Warren Christie and military consultant Jamel Daniels.
Cast of the new TV show "The Village" visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. From left to right: actors Daren Kagasoff, Dominic Chianese and Warren Christie and military consultant Jamel Daniels. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Actors Dominic Chianese (left) and Warren Christie (center), cast of the new TV show "The Village," visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Actors Dominic Chianese (left) and Warren Christie (center), cast of the new TV show "The Village," visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes) (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Cast of the new TV show "The Village" visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. From top left: actor Warren Christie, military consultant Jamel Daniels, executive producer Jessica Rhoades, actor Daren Kagasoff and actor Dominic Chianese. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Cast of the new TV show "The Village" visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. From top left: actor Warren Christie, military consultant Jamel Daniels, executive producer Jessica Rhoades, actor Daren Kagasoff and actor Dominic Chianese. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes) (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Warren Christie, part of the cast of the new TV show "The Village" visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019.
Warren Christie, part of the cast of the new TV show "The Village" visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Molly Morelli, director of dog programs at Warrior Canine Connection, shows a 4-day old puppy to actor Warren Christie. Christie is part of the cast of the new TV show "The Village," which visited Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Molly Morelli, director of dog programs at Warrior Canine Connection, shows a 4-day old puppy to actor Warren Christie. Christie is part of the cast of the new TV show "The Village," which visited Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes) (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Cider, a resident cat at the Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, observes the cast of the new TV show "The Village," visit with the puppies on November 10, 2018. The cast there to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. Cider was supposed to be a barn cat - but instead chose to live inside the puppies.
Cider, a resident cat at the Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, observes the cast of the new TV show "The Village," visit with the puppies on November 10, 2018. The cast there to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. Cider was supposed to be a barn cat - but instead chose to live inside the puppies. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
After the cast of the new TV show "The Village" visited Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, the puppies started to play.
After the cast of the new TV show "The Village" visited Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, the puppies started to play. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
After the cast of the new TV show "The Village" visited Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, the puppies started to play.
After the cast of the new TV show "The Village" visited Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, the puppies started to play. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Military consultant Jamel Daniels, foreground, part of the cast of the new TV show "The Village," visits Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. Seated is actor Dominic Chianese, known for his roles in "Sopranos" and "The Godfather Part II."
Military consultant Jamel Daniels, foreground, part of the cast of the new TV show "The Village," visits Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. Seated is actor Dominic Chianese, known for his roles in "Sopranos" and "The Godfather Part II." (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Dominic Chianese, part of the cast of the new TV show "The Village" visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019.
Dominic Chianese, part of the cast of the new TV show "The Village" visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Dominic Chianese, part of the cast of the new TV show "The Village" visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019.
Dominic Chianese, part of the cast of the new TV show "The Village" visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Military consultant Jamel Daniels, part of the cast of the new TV show "The Village" visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019.
Military consultant Jamel Daniels, part of the cast of the new TV show "The Village" visit Warrior Canine Connection in Boyds, Maryland, on November 10, 2018, to learn about service dogs and their role helping veterans. The show will air in 2019. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

BOYDS, Md. — Puppies crawled over legs and laps, under chairs and knees, stretching to lick the faces of some of the cast and crew of the new NBC show “The Village” as they sat on the floor.

A small group from the show arrived at the headquarters of the nonprofit Warrior Canine Connection on Nov. 10 to get a better understanding of service dogs and their role in helping veterans.

The show, which will debut in early 2019, is set in Brooklyn and revolves around the lives of several people who live in the same apartment building. Two of them are veterans.

Nick, played by actor Warren Christie — currently on Fox’s “The Resident” — has just returned to the States after being deployed and lives in the city with his military dog, Jedi. Dominic Chianese -– “Junior” Soprano in “The Sopranos” and Johnny Ola in “The Godfather Part II” — plays another veteran, Enzo.

In order for actors Chianese and Christie to authentically portray veterans, NBC hired former Marine Cpl. Jamel Daniels.

All three visited the Warrior Canine Connection facility in Boyds, Md., where they talked with veterans and learned what it takes to train service dogs, including those in the “Liberty Litter” that greeted them.

WCC workers “take these dogs and raise them and get them prepared for veterans … (The dogs) help out a lot with stress that people deal with: PTSD, everyday things that you wouldn’t even think of,” Daniels, 39, said.

‘We want it real’ Daniels served from 2002-2006, deploying to Iraq for eight months and 11 days. Attached to Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24thMarine Expeditionary Unit, he was on his last day of deployment when tragedy struck Jan. 31, 2005, in Babil province.

“We got hit with an IED, which blew up underneath my vehicle. I was the gunner on top of the turret in which our vehicle got hit. Three guys died in my vehicle. Just two of us survived,” Daniels said. Lance Cpl. Ronald Howard was also wounded and survived the attack.

Those killed were Lance Cpl. Jason C. Redifer, 19, of Virginia; Lance Cpl. Harry R. Swain IV, 21, of New Jersey; and Cpl. Christopher E. Zimny, 27, of Illinois.

Daniels was severely injured in the attack, and his left leg had to be amputated. After more than a year of physical rehabilitation and 11 months in a wheelchair, he had to come to terms with post-traumatic stress disorder and survivor’s guilt.

NBC is hoping to draw on Daniels’ military experience. But he also has a history in the entertainment business, working as a set dresser on “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Ocean's 8,” “Law and Order” and “Orange Is the New Black,” among others.

Daniels was the subject of a documentary series “Wounded: The Battle Back Home,” broadcast on MSNBC, in an episode titled “Jamel: Operation Honor.”

“They were looking for someone that was an amputee that could possibly help out with Warren’s character,” he said. “Basically, it would be helping them learn how to walk like an amputee, just to make it look real. Every day ins and outs of what you go through, just to get it so exact. We want it real.”

Daniels has been working with Christie “since day one” of the show.

“He’s also been very credible and forthcoming with his story and the different things he has gone through,” Christie, 43, said.

Christie has been doing a lot of research to bring the most to his character, Nick. NBC brought veterans and amputees to work on the show, and he talks to them as often as he can.

“Part of the thing that I am learning more and more … is the guilt that people come back with,” he said. “You would think that going and serving and coming back would be a great thing, but I think a lot of people carry guilt, especially when they have comrades who are lost.”

One veteran’s story stuck with him: A servicemember who deployed, pausing his old life in order to serve. He came back uninjured, but the strangest part for the servicemember was that no one else’s life paused. “And he was just feeling out of time with everything. And you don’t think about that. Coming back uninjured. … Too many times we expect our veterans to pick up right where they left off, and that’s not very possible,” Christie said.

He said the show plays to the strength of veterans and the challenges they face every day.

“Being a veteran and having lost a limb – it’s an aspect of (his character Nick). But we don’t want it to be this all-encompassing thing. Yes, he’s going to have to deal with things, because veterans do, but it’s also not just all of who he is. He’s just a man, and there’s love and loss and life, and all these different things are an aspect of it,” Christie said.

Warrior Canine Connection Warrior Canine Connection has helped countless veterans with injuries and PTSD.

“I knew a little bit about dogs and the effects they can have, but to come here and see it … dogs are phenomenal,” Christie said. “It’s something that helps them cope, opposed to so many different pills and this or that or this other thing. Or self-medicating, which is also a big problem with veterans.

“You have these beautiful dogs that are loving unconditionally; it’s really an incredible thing to see.”

For more about Warrior Canine Connection: https://warriorcanineconnection.org/

Email: Tibbetts.meredith@stripes.com Twitter: @mjtibbs

Migrated
twitter Email

stars and stripes videos

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up