For sixteen years, Erick Scott served his country in the Army and National Guard. After his return from a tour in Iraq, Scott was profoundly affected by the loss of his fellow soldiers from his unit. Riddled with survivor's guilt and struggling with PTSD, Scott's life had become turbulent and filled with fear and anxiety.
Enter Gumbo, a black lab who has changed the lives of everyone in the Scott family and who has become a much-needed anchor in Scott's life. The video below is a demonstration of the bond between Gumbo and Erick.
Scott recounts where his difficulties began, serving in Iraq with his father's words echoing in his mind: "'Son, you've got eleven guys. Make sure they all come back,'" says Scott. "And they didn't all come back. I feel guilty because I'm here."
After his PTSD diagnosis, Scott suffered from nightmares, cold sweats, and panic attacks. His doctors first described medications to help him manage the PTSD, but he says, "I'd throw it right in the trash can."
A recent Department of Veterans Affairs study reports that twenty veterans commit suicide every day. In 2014, 7,400 veterans took their own lives. Scott's doctors told him he needed help, and he knew that they were right.
That's when Scott discovered K-9 for Warriors, a non-profit group that pairs custom-trained service dogs to veterans with PTSD. Scott was matched with Gumbo, a highly trained dog who quickly proved his worth to Scott and his family.
In the interview below, Scott is overcome with emotion when discussing the day he was diagnosed with PTSD. While telling his story, Scott becomes agitated and upset, and Gumbo steps in to save the day. He senses Scott's emotional PTSD reaction and interrupts the panic attack by lovingly nudging his head under Scott's hand and gently licking Scott's face.
"I'm a lot more optimistic [because of Gumbo]," says Scott.
Well done, Gumbo! We salute your owner for his service to the country, and we salute you for your service to your owner!
Watch Scott and Gumbo's touching video below, and then share Gumbo's unconditional love with your friends on Facebook.