In June 2013 We officially launched our Veterans with PTSD Programming
Our Mission: To provide funding to Veterans with PTSD or other neurological disorders and individuals who have a need for help from a service protection dog, where they might otherwise not be able to acquire a service dog.
We are currently working with Veteran Josh Schutt, Philadelphia, PA who served for six years in the US Army including 2 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Josh lives with PTSD and TBI. His daily life struggle is documented on his facebook page Help Support A Veteran. Josh came to GatorlandK9 four months ago. We are actively working toward his goal of funding a service dog.
Josh has opened up his world to all of you. This is his story.
Josh Schutt's Story
I served in the US Army from 1998 until October, 2004. I was medically discharged due to injuries I suffered in Iraq.
I was injured in Iraq on Aug 1, 2003, when my weapon, a .50 cal machine gun, misfired and exploded on me and I was left only holding what they call the butterfly handles. My body immediately went into shock, so I didn’t feel any pain but I did recognize the severity of my injuries. My bleeding was very significant so I wasn’t sure that I was going to make. It took three hours to get to the closest medical unit. When I got to the MASH unit, I explained to the doctor what happened and he was so shocked he lost all the color in his face. He said he couldn’t believe that I was alive, let alone awake. I took shrapnel to my leg and my stomach. He immediately had to operate on me to remove the metal throughout my body. I spent a week in Iraq until I became stable enough to be transported to Germany. Once I was there, many tests were run and they were able to partially close up some of my wounds. I spent another week there before I was sent to Walter Reid where they proceeded to run more tests, close up the rest of my wounds and made sure I was healing. Once they ruled out internal bleeding, I was released.
I was medically discharge from the military for my physically injuries. However, my emotional and psychological injuries were a lot harder to recover from. For the next few years, I spent a lot of time looking at the bottom of a beer mug and trying to avoid everyone and anything. I could not sleep unless I drank enough to pass out and when I did fall asleep, I would wake up screaming and sweaty from the nightmares. I experienced a lot while in Iraq and I was having trouble learning to live a normal life again. I didn’t know what was going on or how to deal with it. I finally went to the VA where I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder usually caused by a life threatening event(s). It is diagnosed when someone experiences recurring flashbacks and high levels of anxiety that continue a month after the traumatic event.
My doctors suggested a multitude of medications but they weren’t enough. I finally came across something called a PTSD service dog and after researching, I realized they had helped many Veterans like me deal with PTSD. I discovered that having a PTSD service dog would allow me to live a more normal life. For example, I am constantly looking around to make sure there aren’t any snipers or IUDs hidden in my surrounding but the sense of security the service dog will give me will allow me to relax. It will also wake me up when I have night terrors, which are frequent. It will help me to go out and be social in big crowds, which I typically avoid. If it senses me getting stressed, a PTSD dog is trained to calm me back down avoiding a full blown panic attack.
The challenge with obtaining a specially trained service dog is that they cost more than I can afford due to the fact that the training is so extensive that is takes years to complete. There are many agencies out there that offer free dogs to Veterans but they have an extremely long waiting list and I have dealt with this for way too long. I am now asking for your assistance and anyone else’s who would be willing to donate funds to help me cover the cost of getting a PTSD service dog. The average cost of training and obtaining a PTSD service dog, including training is very expensive. I am ready to live a normal life again but I need your help. Please help me raise this money by donating anything you can and by passing this along to everyone you know. It would be greatly appreciated.
There are several ways you can support our efforts for Josh:
If you would like to make a donation you can mail a check!
Make Checks Payable to:
Service Protection Dogs For World Peace
PO Box 296 Barberville, FL 32105
Mark Memo: Josh Schutt
Author: Jill Pavel