The Department of Defense knows how serious Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is, and is funding a pilot program of specially-trained service dogs. The dogs are tested to see if they can smell the adrenaline that comes from when a veteran has a flashback or a nightmare, and then draws the attention away from the trauma.
Veterans like Sonny owe a lot to these dogs like “Aquino”, his Australian Labradoodle.
"He's a wonderful person -- I mean, a wonderful dog. He's helped me through the adjustments of becoming a civilian from a soldier," Sonny told FOX 13.
The K-9 Partners for Patriots program started three years ago in Hernando County Florida, and has matched over 100 veterans with service dogs that primarily come from rescue shelters. But this program’s 19-week course goes beyond companionship.
"To get them a dog that didn't do that would be providing them with a pet, and they don't need a pet, they need help," explained Mary Pete, founder and CEO of K9 Partners for Patriots.
"I don't know why I got him, but I'm sure glad I did," continued Sonny.
Watch the video to see how these specially trained dogs are making a difference.