Puppies in Waverly help veterans with PTSD - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Puppies in Waverly help veterans with PTSD

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WAVERLY (KWWL) - More than 300,000 veterans have been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. It's a reality veterans and their families deal with every day, and a new movie is bringing to light some of those issues.

The movie "American Sniper" opened over the weekend. It profiles the story of Chris Kyle, a United States Navy Seal proclaimed the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history.

The movie, starring Bradley Cooper has broken box office records showing audiences everywhere the reality of PTSD.

"Honestly I probably wouldn't be here without him and that's the truth," said Army Veteran Bob Hayes as he pointed to his dog.

Hays is an Afghan war veteran, having been over there with the Army for about a year. Since he's been back, his dog, Tags has played an important role in his life.

"Be here honestly. I mean it's just a best friend you have no matter where you go," said Hayes.

Tags was placed with Hayes through the non-profit Retrieving Freedom in Waverly. The organization helps disabled veterans, veterans with PTSD and kids with autism.

It was a vision dog trainer Scott Dewy had nearly four years ago.

"There really wasn't any service provided to these guys coming back from different conflicts, the most recent conflicts in ways they could cope and have a partner with them on a daily basis," said Dewey. 

Veteran Bob Sable was placed with his dog Bones about four months ago. Bones goes everywhere with him. He even went to the movie American Sniper with him.

"I wouldn't have wanted to be in that movie without him. I could always reach down and touch him. He knew when I was getting edgy," said Sable. 

Dewy says more than a dozen dogs have been placed since the organization has started.

Retrieving Freedom also operates out of Senatobia, Mississippi.

In Waverly, they are in the process of building a placement and training facility for people to be with their dogs. It will open in June.

Dewey says in March they plan to place eight more dogs with veterans.

For more information and how to help: http://retrievingfreedom.org/
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