CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — There have been incredible breakthroughs for veterans suffering from PTSD, and some treatments don’t include medication.
When Kelley Sockett first met her husband, Andrew, it was love at first sight. It was also after Andrew’s military deployments that she eventually noticed something was off.
“There were instances where we were out in public, in the stores and things like that, and he would be kind of nervous and let’s get out of here,” Kelley said.
Andrew’s PTSD and anxiety attacks from combat-related traumatic brain injury and exposure to toxic burn pits progressively got worse; His nightmares were scary.
“He would shout. It would be like he was in trouble or something,” Kelley said.
“My anger and attitude started to change and instead of people realizing what happened, it was ‘you’ve got an attitude problem, something’s not right, you’re angry at the world’,” Andrew said.
Andrew was prescribed various medications for his anxiety, and then he met a fellow veteran who convinced him to toss out the pills and pick up a leash.
That’s when Andrew met Hercules, a two-year-old, tail-wagging, 100-pound Labrador in August.
For 10 days, they went through individualized, all-expense paid training with the group “America’s VetDogs” in New York. It’s there where Andrew learned how to work with his new support dog. And in return, Hercules gave Andrew a gift of confidence and comfort.
“When Andrew is around him, it’s just this peace, this calm,” Kelley said.
That calm allows Andrew to give back to his fellow veterans as West Virginia’s VFW state chaplain.
He is now able to share his love for fellow service members and their families, especially in their time of darkness.
“For me, that’s also a really amazing to see that I can help encourage other veterans to seek help instead of hiding it and bottling it up,” Andrew said.
“There’s hope for all service people. When I see him dealing with what he has, and he has the dog that’s super; it gives me strength, exactly what it does. It gives me strength to support my fellow veterans in serving and past served,” said Ray Watson US Army and Navy veteran, and VFW member.
It’s proof that man’s best friend can also help our heroes heal through a special bond. And in this case, it was Hercules to the rescue.
To learn more about America’s VetDogs, click here.