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Published: Apr 21, 2011

Soldiers returning from the battlefield sometimes suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One program striving to combat this mental health issue supplies military men and women with canine companions, according to the Tacoma News-Tribune.

The dogs in the nonprofit group Canine Assistants are specially trained to help those living with PTSD. The organization aims to supply 10 soldiers with a dog each year to help them cope with the pain of what they experienced during war time.

Some of the participants in the program have been struggling with PTSD for years. The pets aim to help these soldiers relax and feel less anxious in their day-to-day lives.

Lieutenant Colonel Karl Bockler told the news source that his canine companion, Bella, is able to sense and understand what he is feeling. Bockler returned from Iraq in 2007 with PTSD.

"They sense things I don't think any other animal can sense," another participant explained to the news organization.

Dog owners can attest that their four-legged companions can improve mood. The Daily Mail cites one study out of the University of Portsmouth that found walking a dog can help one overcome depression and loneliness.