News Details

Nonprofit uses dogs to help veterans suffering from PTSD

by Boua Xiong

Source: KARE NBC
Published: Wednesday 10 July, 2013

BURNSVILLE, Minn. - Many veterans who return home from war face a new battle at home with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Helping Paws, a Hopkins nonprofit that usually trains service dogs for people with physical disabilities, has launched a pilot program to train dogs to help veterans.

Carl Ringberg is the first veteran to receive a dog from the program. Carl served in Afghanistan and Iraq. On his last tour he saw his own friend die.

"I took him to get on a helicopter and I didn't even say goodbye because I knew I'd see him in two weeks. That helicopter never came back. It got shot down," he said.

Since his return home he's battled with PTSD. He locked himself inside his home and his relationships with family and friends fell apart. He knew he needed help.

Four months ago, it arrived in the form of Jed, a three-year-old golden retriever.

"He's shown me love and (mad it possible) for me to learn how to show my kids love," he said.

Jed was trained to help wake Carl up from nightmares, create barriers in crowds, even scope out a room and turn on the lights.

Wendi Anderson brought the two together as a client coordinator for Helping Paws.

"When I first met him was sweating and anxious and now I see him and he's confident," Anderson said.

Carl knows Jed isn't a cure for PTSD, but he believes it is a tool that's changed his life.

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