Post-traumatic stress can plague a war veteran throughout the course of his or her life, but man's best friend has allowed one Minnesota man to reconnect with his community, and himself.
Watching Carl Ringberg with his dog Jed, it's easy to see they have a special bond -- but the relationship between the two goes much deeper than the usual connection between man and his dog.
"I've seen a lot of things I didn't want to see. I've done a lot of things I couldn't imagine doing here stateside," Ringberg said.
"The last couple of months have been life-changing. I've probably been more places in the last couple of months than I have in the last year. I'm more willing to get out and go," he said.
Ringberg served two tours of duty with the Army in Afghanistan and Iraq, but when he left the service, he was plagued by anger and guilt over losing his best friend in combat. He found it difficult to adjust to life with his family after active duty.
"I want to be the greatest dad to my kids but is so hard to be that when I'm so used to perfection from the military and I want the kids do to everything right, right away."
So he contacted Helping Paws, an organization that trains service dogs for the disabled. They started a pilot program to teach their dogs to do things like turn on lights, open doors and act as barriers when they're with their owners in public to help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress.
Ringberg says showing affection to Jed is re-teaching him how to connect with his wife and five kids.
"I know it's not a cure, but it's a tool to help me reconnect with the community and society," Ringberg said.
HELPING PAWS WEBSITE: http://www.helpingpaws.org/