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A Special Dog

July 28, 2016 - Chris Thissen and his service dog, a 7-year-old pit bull named Peterbuilt, aren’t human and dog or owner and pet; they’re a team. Thissen served on active duty in the Marines for six years, including a nine-month tour in Iraq. Now he trains post-traumatic stress disorder service animals.

Together, he and Pete have placed six dogs with veterans through the Wounded Warrior Project.

“A PTSD service dog can go for anywhere from $15,000-$20,000,” Thissen said. “I train for $150, and the only way it’s extra is if I find a dog, they reimburse me for the adoption. It’s a way to get them PTSD dogs that they can afford.”

Chris trains the dogs to cater to the specific needs of their veteran.

“I teach them vigilance. PTSD is so different for every person. The easiest way I can explain it is by comparing it to autism; it’s such a wide spectrum.”

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