Widow of American Sniper in town to thank SE Guide Dogs for support dog

Taya Kyle is the widow of Chris Kyle who was known as the "American Sniper," the most deadly U.S. sniper on record.
Taya Kyle is the widow of Chris Kyle who was known as the "American Sniper," the most deadly U.S. sniper on record.
Taya Kyle
Taya Kyle

PALMETTO, Fla. (WFLA) — The wife of the famous ‘American Sniper’ is in the Tampa Bay area to say thank you.

Taya Kyle has worked to uphold her late husband’s legacy, but she admits she couldn’t do it without the help of Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto.

When you meet Taya Kyle, you’re immediately impressed by her strength and confidence in the face of adversity. But for a while, it was a facade. Her husband Chris, the most deadly sniper in US history, was tragically murdered while trying to help others. And Taya has struggled with loneliness and anxiety.

“I would panic, because I would know that ok I’m on my own again…Obviously it was very painful and kind of scary and freaked me out because I’m a very independent person,” Kyle said through tears.

“Total anxiety, being very nervous, putting a smile on my face so nobody would know it and being a train wreck inside,” she added.

Her family still shares in her grief.

“My daughter has a hard time sleeping at night sometimes,” Kyle admitted.

So Kyle received Norman from Southeastern Guide Dogs. He provides emotional support to help Taya and her family cope.

“You get the support of knowing that there’s something or someone that lives and breathes by you that you can count on, who won’t betray you, who won’t disappoint you, who won’t let you down,” Kyle explained. “I had thought I was putting on such a good show and everybody can see that I’m just fine. But these dogs know that you’re not fine and they know when you’re broken and they know when you need comfort.”

And now she’s expressing her thanks and sharing the message.

“There are so many wives out there who said I never knew anybody else understood my story because they suffer quietly,” Kyle said.

She has committed her life to military causes, supporting veterans’ issues and being an advocate for those who’ve lost loved ones.

“Anything I can do to bring that light to the military world and the first responder world makes me feel like I’m doing what [Chris ]can’t do what right now. I’m doing it to honor him and I’m doing it because I’ve seen first-hand what it’s like to have that beauty through the ashes of my life and I want to pay it forward and do that for other people,” Kyle said.

And as her dog Norman proves, you should never be afraid to ask for help.

“My faith has shown me that while evil exists, God has promised all of us that he will bring beauty through the ashes of your life. You just have to hang on,” Kyle said.

Taya Kyle says the movie ‘American Sniper’ did so much to help the cause of military families.

“Chris and I always thought that American Sniper wasn’t just our story, it was sort of every veterans’ story, every military story,” she said.

She’s heard from service members who opened up to their spouses about their emotional distress and the movie has emboldened her to work harder to support military families who are really struggling inside. Kyle says the film has not changed her.

“Hopefully the only way I’ve changed is just to be more driven to do more to get the story out for people who can be healed by it,” said Kyle.

And there are services like Southeastern Guide Dogs that can help.

Hear more from Taya Kyle, including her recollections of her husband tonight at 5:30 on News Channel 8.

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