There’s no denying the therapeutic effects dogs can have on us. And Gumbo the black lab is proof.
When veteran Erick Scott started suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after he left the Army and National Guard, he turned to K9s For Warriors for help getting his service dog, Gumbo.
And when Erick started to struggle during a television interview, his loyal pup jumped right into action.
Erick was talking to USA Today about his life after his 16 years in the Army and Army National Guard. When he left for Iraq, he couldn’t keep his father’s words out of his head.
“’Son, you’ve got eleven guys,’ he said, ‘make sure you bring them all back’,” Erick said. “That’s the last thing he told me, and they didn’t all come back.”
Overcome with survivor’s guilt, Erick paid tribute those who died with tattoos of a skull and empty combat boots, or a “soldier’s cross.” “I feel guilty because I’m here,” Erick explained.
Erick suffered from guilt and terrible nightmares. He’d often wake up in a cold sweat. At times, he and his wife had to change the sheets because he’d sweat so much.
Eventually, Erick was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. They tried to give him medication, but he’d throw it in the trash. Nothing helped — until Scott found K9s For Warriors.
But dogs have the amazing ability to provide emotional support to those who need it. And that’s what K9s for Warriors is for: the organization matches veterans with the service dogs they need, whether it’s for PTSD, a physical, emotional, or mental injury, or overcoming sexual trauma.
They provide equipment, training, seminars, healthcare and food for the dogs, and more. They’ve helped 272 veterans so far.
Erick’s beloved black lab Gumbo is proof of how much these service dogs can help. The two have such a close bond — and Gumbo is so well trained — that he can sense when Erick’s about to get upset, and can support him before anything negative happens.
Gumbo was right there for Erick as he was giving his USA Today interview. As Erick remembered being in denial and upset over his PTSD diagnosis, Gumbo started crawling into Erick’s lap and licking his face.
“He can tell I’m getting a little agitated,” Erick said. It’s no surprise, then, that now that Erick has Gumbo, he says he feels “a lot more optimistic.”