Minneapolis students reunite with service dog they bought for Army veteran

Students at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School take turns petting Charger, a service dog they bought for Army veteran Jared Nelson. (FOX 9)

At St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School in northeast Minneapolis, Army veteran Jared Nelson and his service dog Charger took center stage at the school’s Veterans Day ceremony.

Through fundraising efforts last year, the middle school students purchased the Labrador and donated it to Paws Assisting Wounded Warriors. Monday, they met with Nelson, who served in the war in Iraq, for the very first time.

“It’s so interesting to see so much passion behind these kids,” said Nelson.

Nelson suffers from combat-related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“For me, I didn’t want the medication,” he said. “I didn’t want to have all of that stuff pumped into me to try to normalize me. I wanted something that was a little more natural.”

Charger as a puppy

Students first met Charger a year ago when he was a puppy. (FOX 9)

Charger helps keep him grounded. 

“He senses when symptoms or differences in me occur,” said Nelson. “And that’s anything from my mannerisms, to my behavior, my restlessness, the inflection of my voice.”

“I think that it was great for the kids to see that what they invested in was real,” said Laura Hennes, a staff member at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School.

Their giving spirit led to the purchase of a 12-week-old pup named Cash, who like Charger, will be trained to offer a military veteran support.  

“Just talking to [the students] one-on-one as they passed through with Charger, I would have never knew that they had so much pride and that is pretty cool,” said Nelson.