February 28, 2023 2 min read
United States servicemen and women risk their lives and leave their families to protect this nation. Unfortunately, sometimes they return home with injuries from service. Thankfully, there is some relief for our warriors. This is the story of one serviceman and the dog that came to his aid.
Erick Scott served in the Army National Guard and Army for sixteen years. He traveled to Iraq on behalf of the United States. His time abroad was not easy. Unfortunately, he did not return home with all his brothers in arms. His experiences in the Middle East left Erick with emotional distress.
Erick suffered from symptoms not obvious to the naked eye. He told USA Today that he felt much guilt thinking about what his fellow soldiers endured. As a result, he would often wake up in the middle night from nightmares, in a cold sweat.
Doctors diagnosed him with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and offered him a regime of different medications. Unfortunately, nothing worked. Erick became frustrated with the process. Luckily, that’s when Erick learned about another way to treat the disorder.
Eric learned about K9s For Warriors. This organization provides service dogs to our veterans suffering from PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, and/or Military Sexual Trauma as a result of military service post-September 11th. Not only do they help veterans, but they only train rescue dogs to be service canines. What a commendable group!
After he found about them, Erick contacted the non-profit. Eventually, they paired him with his “Battle Buddy,” a dog named Gumbo.
The video below captures just how Gumbo changed Erick’s life. In the story, the interviewer asks Erick about his PTSD diagnosis. When Erick recalled doctors telling him about their assessment, he became agitated. He remembered how angry he became at that time. Gumbo sensed his handler’s unease and got to work. He sat up and began nuzzling Erick. Gumbo licked Erick’s face and diverted his attention from the stressful memories.
The video is remarkable. Erick even offered a slight smile, recognizing that Gumbo was doing his job exactly as he was trained. Pretty moving stuff!
Get to know Erick and Gumbo. Watch their story in the video below and see how Gumbo immediately reacts to the needs of his handler. The bond is real!