MINOT, N.D. - It is estimated that more than three million veterans suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. One organization helps those suffering from PTSD by giving them a companion.
"You know, dogs truly are a man's best friend," said Joan Nold, Co-Founder of Labs for Liberty.
A best friend that can change your life.
“It's uplifting, it's life changing. People say 'oh it must be hard to give up the dog', but not in the least because this dog, within a day, knows that that veteran is their forever person. They bond so quickly, and the difference they make in their lives is enormous," said Nold.
Labs for Liberty is an volunteer organization that works to empower veterans by providing them with service dogs to help with PTSD and other physical needs.
"Our country has been at war for over a dozen years now and even though we aren't technically at war now, we are still engaged in a lot of conflict, and some studies say 44 percent of our warriors are coming back with PTSD, and they've paid it forward, and it’s our turn to pay it back," said Nold.
It gives them a chance to heal with a four-legged friend.
"We know empirically, as well as through research, that service dogs save lives. They get our warriors engaged in the public again, they heal families, they help them get back in the professional life and school, and it's our way of saying thank you," said Nold.
Nold says through empowering these veterans, the impact spreads, changing the family's life as well.
"We've had wives say 'I have my husband back again'. We have kids say 'my dad will go to the park with me,' and we've had veterans say 'I've not gone out of the house in two years, and now I'm comfortable going to the store with my wife,'" said Nold.
The program is also creating a network of people who understand and support those who fought for their country.
"Our foundation functions in a way that we really get to personally know every single veteran, and they're a part of our family, so we feel like we've built this big extended family, and we continue to do so," said Nold.
"It's just like the best gift I've ever given anybody. It's just a really great feeling," said Jeanne Carver, dog trainer.
And it's a gift that keeps on giving.
For more information about about the program, visit labsforliberty.org.