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Service dog helps soldier with PTSD

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

It's an effort to help soldiers who return home from overseas to get back on their feet and back to a normal way of life.

The Patriot Dog Program, through People's Advocate Southwest Louisiana, provides service dogs to soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Army veteran Chris Nuss is dealing with PTSD after serving five years in the Army and one tour in Iraq.

"The day I came back was probably the best day of my life, you know. And then there was an adjustment period coming back and it took me awhile to get back in the swing of things, but I've definitely been well on my way to a good normal life," Nuss said.

Especially now that he has Wally, a service dog through the Patriot Dog Program. 

"He likes to relax. He's got a chill attitude I hope will rub off on me," Nuss said.

Wally is helping Nuss with the transition back to that normal lifestyle, and Nuss is helping Wally, too.

"The gift that Chris and Wally are for each other is beyond words going to be able to make Chris's life beautiful again," said Beth Zilbert, executive director of the People's Advocate SWLA.

She said Wally was an abandoned dog rescued from a shelter and now, he'll help a soldier feel safe at home again.

"What Chris is getting in Wally is a gift of love from this community to him that then also healed so many hearts and souls out here in our community as well," Zilbert said.

Wally helped kids at-risk who helped him learn that humans can be friendly again. He also helped women at-risk, who helped give him one-on-one training leading to the dog becoming a service dog.

And Nuss is excited for the future.

"It's helped a lot of other people. Some other soldiers that I know had service dogs for the same reason and it helped them a lot so I think it'll do the same for me," Nuss said.

A friend for a man, a hero for a hero.

For more information, call People's Advocate SWLA at 337-436-3475.

You can help People's Advocate SWLA continue to help the community by checking out their fundraising event on Sunday, June 9 at Harlequin restaurant in Lake Charles from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $35 each and that includes food and open bar. There will also be an auction featuring artwork by local artists.

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