INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Nick Bennett of Johnson County is an Iraq war veteran, who survived a rocket attack.
"I took an actual shell casing in my right shoulder, put shrapnel in my side, and my left arm and when I got spun around tore off the back of my hand."
He made it home to Indiana, in serious condition, continuing his rehab at the local VA Hospital.
Nick's physical pain lingers, and he'll soon get a service dog to help him with mobility issues. But he's also hoping the dog will help ease his post traumatic stress disorder.
"It's more than just companionship. It's a physical presence, like having your brother and sister in combat. Somebody's got your back."
There are thousands of vets like Nick. In 2011 alone, over 200,000 returning vets were treated for PTSD.
Medication and therapy are answers.
But more veterans are convinced the unconditional love and loyalty of a dog, might just be the answer for some vets with PTSD.
In Indiana, service dogs are trained by prison inmates through ICAN, the Indiana Canine Assistants Network. The Director, Sally Irvin, says dogs can be trained for PTSD. But the VA has been dragging its feet.
"There was a study going on in Florida, with some service dogs, then put on hold for a while, difficult to find out where that study is now."
Irwin Stovroff of Florida is the man who got that study started, by lobbying his congressman for a multi million dollar appropriation.
"Would you believe, would you believe that even today, they are still doing research with that money," says Stovroff. "Research, when all they have to do is see the results of any individual that has PTSD, with this dog."
Stovroff's Congressman, Ron Klein says the whole project moved slowly.
He's frustrated that the study he helped start, has stalled.
"When we did some checking into this recently, we found that the VA had stopped the program for awhile, and didn't add more dogs in, did not add more dogs in, because there was some abuses in the training of the dogs, something that to me sure could have been resolved quickly."
So, veterans like Kenny Bass, who want a dog for his PTSD, instead had to get one through donations and loans. Not the VA.
Kenny's dog, Atlas, is with him night and day.
The cost of training ranges greatly. Some trainers say they can train a service dog to pick up PTSD symptoms for $2,500 to $3,000. Others say training may be as much as $15,000 -- $20,000.
Dogs procured now are usually through service organizations and donations.
A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for all of central Indiana until 7a.m. Monday.
IMPD officials say a 3-year-old boy has died after he was shot in the head Saturday evening.
Christmas is just over two weeks away, but it came early for some very special kids in Hancock County.