Inside the Knoxville Gun Range, Robbie Paskiewicz is hard at work creating a custom-made gun.
“My jobs pretty unique right now, it's a dying art,” said Paskiewicz. “Not many people are gunsmiths, you have to have the knowledge to do it.”
Nearby, he’s not the only employee with a unique talent.
"She's a fun loving, easy going dog,” said Paskiewicz.
He’s talking about his Pitbull mix, Reese.
“She's what they call a medical alert dog, when I’m having trouble with my past, my PTSD, she's there to comfort me and let me know hey you're having a bad day.”
The group Train a Dog, Save a Warrior made the match earlier this year. Both have traveled a tough road.
“She didn't have the best life. She was a court case and was abused,” explained Paskiewicz. “I did two deployments to Iraq one to Afghanistan.”
The military veteran says his biggest battle now is his mind.
"I was in the army 18 to 27. I spent most of my young adult life in war or training for war.”
Robbie’s shop is a sanctuary of sorts but even this familiar space can trigger his anxiety.
"Some days it’s overly annoying to hear the gunshots, other days its soothing,” explained Paskiewicz. “You get used to it and it’s a sound you miss.”
“So having Reese there the days I don't like it, she's here to do what she's doing right now, she plays with me nibbles on me.”
Away from work, his adopted daughter has changed his life drastically.
"Basically she is my lifeline to the world, I was going grocery shopping 3, 4 in the morning so I didn't have to deal with the crowds,” said Paskiewicz. “It's two different worlds now, I don't have to fight to do normal everyday things.”
Reese is there for more than just the belly rubs and treats, she takes her job seriously, keeping a watchful eye almost all the time.
"Barely lets me go to the bathroom by myself!” laughed Paskiewicz.
To him, she’s more than man’s best friend, but his protector and comforter.
"She is a little love bug,” said Paskiewicz.
“It's comforting, doesn't feel like I’m alone and everything all the time, she’s that ray of sunshine at the end of dark tunnel.”