Veteran Leigh 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 (right) provides relief that Michel says no other therapy or medication can match. She also has a smaller dog, Blade (left), as a pet.
Though the VA provides veterinary benefits for service dogs assigned to people with physical disabilities, it does not currently recognize psychiatric service dogs for treatment. (Images: @claireeclaire | Claire Harbage/NPR)