Nightly News   |  June 09, 2013

‘Rescued’ dogs helping soldiers cope with PTSD

The group Guardians of Rescue are helping veterans deal with PTSD by linking them up with canine companions, NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> reporter: at ft. bragg, north carolina --

>> look at that face!

>> reporter: -- a rescue operation is under way. dogs at this shelter are strays. or, like zoe , had to be left behind by deployed soldiers. but rescuing them is only the first part of the mission through a program called guardians of res crew, they'll become therapy dogs . buddies for soldiers returning from battle with post traumatic stress .

>> quite sure she'll make somebody happy.

>> reporter: john wallace nose. a guardian volunteer and former army infantry man in afghanistan, he's recovering from ptsd himself and got his dog tommy last fall.

>> having a dog has completely brought me out of the hell that i was living in.

>> reporter: to help others like john, zoe and the other dogs with brought from north carolina to new york for some intensive training. and after three months, zoe is battle ready.

>> whenever we send a dog away to its new home it is very bittersweet.

>> reporter: bitter -- because they're giving zoe up. but sweet, because she's be helping others in ways no therapist or family member has been able to. zoe is assigned to army veteran michael metsinger.

>> i have been diagnosed with ptsd. i have lower back and neck issues and migraines.

>> reporter: after afghanistan's he's had a tough time readjusting to life at home with his fiance. he hopes a battle buddy can ease his pain.

>> i'm really excited by nervous at the same time.

>> reporter: this volume veteran volunteered to drive zoe to her new home.

>> hi, baby.

>> reporter: a dog rescued from a shelter, rescuing a soldier from the scars of battle.

>> i just feel great right now. hi, baby.

>> today i can say that, know what? mission accomplished .

>> reporter: gabe gutierrez, nbc news, venice, florida.

>>> that's "nbc nightly news" for