TAMPA, Fla. — Thursday was the introductory phase for a new study at the University of South Florida aimed at helping those with PTSD.

Dr. Kevin Kip is researching alternative therapies to help veterans, including how service animals impact them.

Rescue 22 Foundation is involved in the study.

“It’s really the opportunity to help veterans nationwide by having our data as part of the answer to I think the question that people want to see — does it really work? And we know it does,” said Angela Connor, Vice President of Rescue 22 Foundation. 

Connor says it's unclear how long the study will take, but she hopes the findings will help more people have access to service dogs.

Jim Elder is one of the veterans who was helped through the Rescue 22 Foundation. The organization matches trained dogs with veterans in need.

Each dog is specially trained to help them.  Within a year, they’ve paired 16 dogs with veterans in need. 

“She amazes me every day. Every single day,” said Elder. He went on to say, “Once I got her, it was just like a complete 360 because now I have purpose again.” 

Elder brings his K9, Zara, to his job at Moffit Cancer Center every day. 

"They’re proud to go around with their service dogs even though it helps them but it also becomes their best friend,” said Erick Innis, President of Rescue 22 Foundation.

Innis and Connor hope one day, no one will be suffering from PTSD but until then their mission continues, and they hope to pair a dog with every veteran who needs one.

Right now, they have 12 veterans on their list, waiting to be paired with a dog.

Read more about the foundation on their website, www.rescue22foundation.org.