Erick Scott’s tattoos represent very sad things.The one on his right forearm, a skull and empty combat boots, are a memorial of his time in Iraq, and there’s also a soldier’s cross to remember fallen comrades.
He was in the army and national guard for 16 years until he finally went home.
Erick’s father said something to Erick before he left:
“Son, you’ve got eleven guys, he said make sure you bring them all back,” Erick said “That’s the last thing he [Erick’s father] told me, and they didn’t all come back.”
Those words his father said to him have had him guilt ridden since then.
He’s been dealing with survivor’s guilt over the loss of his friends and comrades, a common feeling for veterans. He also suffered from terrible nightmares.
“I woke up numerous times, hitting my wife for her just laying there or just in a cold sweat,” Erick told us.
When he finally sought help from doctors, and he was diagnosed with PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, he refused to take medication. So he only got worse.
The he heard about K9s For Warriors.
K9s For Warriors is an east-coast based charity. It helps veterans get the service dogs they need. Each dog is custom trained for every warrior, depending on what they need: if they are fighting PTSD, or suffered a physical or mental injury out on the field, or are survivors of any sexual trauma resulting from military service, a dog will be trained for that vet.
Erick got Gumbo, a gentle black lab. And Gumbo can sense Erick’s distress even before he can, giving him the assurance he needs.
We saw it clearly during his interview with USA Today. When Erick begins talking about his first diagnosis with PTSD, he gets agitated and Gumbo can sense it and intervenes and calms him right away.
In it you can see how Erick’s dog senses his agitation and immediately calms him down.