South. St. Paul veteran presented with fully trained service dog

It was a special Memorial Day weekend for South St. Paul veteran Ed Abrahamson, who received a companion aimed to help with post-traumatic stress. Abrahamson recently retired as a South St. Paul police officer and served in the Army during the first Gulf War, and he lives with with chronic pain and fibromyalgia.

"[With] this fibromyalgia, there are so many dark days. It adds to PTSD, and honestly there are days I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel and it's scary," said Abrahamson. "It's truly scary.  There are days I get in the bathtub and start crying because nothing is enjoyable anymore."

"With Ed being a police officer, the uniform during day, he could keep his demons at bay [but] at night everything came out. It's a dark place. And an alone place," said his wife, Dana.

Dana contacted a group called Rebuilding Warriors and now six months later, the founder, a former police officer and veteran himself, presented Ed with his fully trained service dog. Rex is an 18-month-old Belgian Malinois, who was abused by his owner in California and tied to a pole for a year.

"We wish well for all of our veterans. Monday is Memorial Day.  This is about celebrating Ed's life."

Family and friends gathered for a big celebration on Saturday.

"I'm a friend of Ed's, we met at the VA hospital and this is going to be huge. And he is not alone; there are a great number of people out there who can benefit."

On average, 22 veterans will commit suicide due to PTSD every day. Dogs like Rex aim to prevent as many as possible.

"I dealt with is for years and I dealt with it in dysfunctional ways. And I'm finally stepping forward to say you can be a man and get help and that's what I'm doing," Abrahamson said.

Rebuilding Warriors plans to connect 10 dogs and veterans this year all over the country. To learn more, visit http://www.rebuildingwarriors.com/
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