A local Marine veteran suffering PTSD meets his new best friend

CREATED Jul 4, 2014 - UPDATED: Jul 4, 2014

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CEDARBURG -- A Marine Corps veteran suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder got the gift of a lifetime: a chocolate lab service dog, Jaco.

You can call it: love at first sight. Jaco, meet retired Marine Corps Sergeant Ryan Holiday.

Chocolate lab, Jaco, is a service dog from Guardians of Rescue. The 15 month old is a bundle of energy who'll give Ryan the support to face everyday challenges from PTSD. It all started after a stint in Iraq back in 2009.

"There were several ambushes that we got into,” explains Holiday. “We hit several IEDs."

Ever since then, Ryan has suffered sleepless nights, and flashback dreams. He often wakes up with his heart racing. But now, Jaco will offer him not only friendship, but also, a sense of peace.

Before, Ryan says he wasn't comfortable going out. Even a dinner at a restaurant would have to be cut short.

“It's like you're always really hyper vigilant and watching out for something that's not even there. But it's hard to just turn that off," admits Holiday.

"You can always rely on a dog to be nonjudgmental of things going on. They're just going to love you for being their owner and taking care of them," says Holiday.

Ryan says he’s found a life-long friend in man’s best friend. He’s also gained a new lease on life.