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Puppy Offers Hope to Vet with PTSD - John Dunn

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HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. -- A Kentucky man believes a new puppy is a saving grace. Tony Mallett is an army veteran who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. There is a new dog in his home and a new hope.

The arrival of a new family dog is always a celebrated occasion, but for Tony Mallett it is something more. "He's already brought a smile to my face that I haven't had in a long time," says Tony Mallett.

Mallett is an army veteran who served two tours in Iraq. He was shot, and he survived numerous IED attacks. The experience left him with severe PTSD. "It really changed who I used to be, into who I am now," says Mallett.

Tony admits to staying away from crowds, and having nightmares that leave his wife terrified.

That is where the new family dog comes in. It is from Guardians of Rescue, which matches service dogs with veterans in need. "Veterans suffering from PTSD trust the dog. It gives them the ability to feel more secure," says Robert Misseri with Guardians of Rescue.

The Mallett's dog is just puppy, but he will soon go through months of training. He'll eventually recognize when Tony is in distress, and help motivate him to get out. "Ultimately it becomes their best pal. It becomes their buddy. They tend to never leave their side, and vice versa," says Misseri.

Tony's wife can already see the change, and she believes the puppy will improve life for her family of four. "The last time I saw my husband smile like this was on our wedding day, and I have not seen a smile like this since," says Hope Mallett.

Tony Mallett is grateful to have a new companion, and he hopes he will one day regain his spirit. His new service dog will be there every step of the way. "He's a real saving grace. I'll tell you that right now," says Mallett.

The Mallett's named their puppy Hachiko, which is the name of a Japanese dog who was very loyal to his owner, even years after his owner died.

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