Josh Marino was a young soldier serving in southern Baghdad when his unit was caught in mortar fire. He sustained life-changing injuries: a traumatic brain injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He came home broken and devastated, suffering from wounds that could not be discerned with the eye alone.
"A lot of us come home without realizing that we're bringing the war home with us," Marino states in the Mutual Rescue short film, "Josh & Scout." His injuries, plus added anxiety and memory loss, became too much for Marino to bear. One night, he decided to end his life. He took a knife, wrote up a letter on his computer, and stepped outside to have one last cigarette. That's when Marino's entire life changed.
Marino heard a tiny "meow," and a small black-and-white kitten came walking out of the bushes. "He just walked up and started rubbing up against my leg and let me pet him," Marino said. "I broke down crying, burst into tears. Maybe he knew there was something I couldn't quite handle."
Marino said, "I stopped thinking about all my problems and I started thinking about all his problems." Perhaps sensing that Marino needed him, the little cat began hanging around the bushes every day, waiting for his new friend.
The veteran began feeding the kitten every day, and the cat would jump into his lap and fall asleep. After a short while, the kitten would come running when Marino called him by his name, Scout. "He didn't see anything wrong with me. He didn't see any flaws or imperfections. It felt safe," Marino explained.
One day Marino called for Scout, but there was no answer. He was devastated. "(Scout) had a serious effect on me. He helped me realize that I could actually not just care for somebody else but other people could care for me," he said.
A couple of months later, Marino and his girlfriend were at an adoption event during Memorial Day weekend. As they walked amongst the cat crates, a paw reached out and swatted Marino. It was Scout!
"All of a sudden a little black and white paw shoots out from a crate and starts smacking me in my left arm," Marino recounted. "I looked inside, it is the same little black and white cat. I opened up that cage, and I pulled him out, and I held him tight."
Scout and Marino were reunited and nothing would ever part them again. Scout gave Marino a reason to choose to live, and that first "meow" made all the difference in the world.
Marino explains, “Even before he was my cat, before he even knew me that well, Scout saved my life. He put me on a different path. He gave me the confidence to try to come back from all the adversity that I was feeling."
Scout had a purpose, to save and love Marino. How thankful we are that they crossed paths! May they have many happy years together! Watch the short film "Josh & Scout" below from Mutual Rescue, and then share this moving story with your friends and family on Facebook.