Veterans Struggling After Sexual Assault Increasingly Turn to Service Dogs

“Without [Lizzy], I wouldn’t even be talking to the cashier,” Michel says as she approaches the checkout. “So I guess she’s actually kind of my trainer, getting me to talk to people.”

Michel is a retired first sergeant in the U.S. Army, where she trained as a Chinese linguist, jumped out of airplanes at Fort Bragg, N.C., and traveled the world as a chaplain assistant for 29 years.

She transitioned to civilian life earlier this year but continues to heal physical and mental wounds she has carried for decades, and her service dog Lizzy provides relief that Michel says no other therapy or medication can match.

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