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Many U.S. veterans are struggling with invisible wounds such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. But some of them are finding peace at home thanks to their canine companions.

 Operation Freedom Paws, a nonprofit in Gilroy, California, that helps veterans train their own service dogs. It is run by Mary Cortani, a veteran and one of the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2012.

Veterans in Focus: Celebrating, honoring veterans

When veterans train “their own service dog, there are immediate benefits right off the bat,” Cortani said. “They have a mission and a purpose again. It gives them something to focus on and to complete. It gives them a sense of security and safety. … They know they’re not alone. They’ve always got their buddy at the end of the leash.”

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