They say dogs are man's best friend, but this labrador is much more to Kent Phyfe.

"He's my lifeline."

Phyfe is diagnosed with neurocardiogenic syncope.

"I have a traumatic brain injury that causes my heart and my electrical system to go off," he explained.

It's just one of the effects of combat the U.S. Army veteran suffers from daily, and it used to make his life a nightmare.

"I literally called my house my 'jail.' I was suicidal; I didn't want to live anymore," he said.

Phyfe said having a service dog has changed all that.

"What Mike does for me is, if I happen to go out, he hits an alarm and notifies people around me and also calls 911."

But it's the little things that Phyfe said make the biggest difference.

"Mike picks things up, opens doors for me," he explained. "I have a messed-up neck from jumping out of airplanes for a living, so he makes life much more bearable for me."

Recently, lawmakers voted to make the service dog the official dog of New York State. Wednesday, they presented a formal proclamation, and Phyfe said they couldn't have made a better choice.

"Because of the service dogs, I got my driver's license back, I got my life back, and that's what service dogs do," he said. "They give you your life back, they enhance it, and they become one of your best buddies."

Governor Andrew Cuomo also recently signed legislation that requires domestic violence shelters to house the service dogs of the people at those shelters.