We’re all aware of the issues service men and women face when they return home from serving. The psychological damage can be unbearable for some veterans and they don’t always get the help they need.
Army Sgt. Josh Marino suffered psychological damage from his service in the military. He suffered a brain injury in Iraq and severe post-traumatic stress disorder; so much so he felt he couldn’t go on.
“I did not want to deal with it anymore,” Josh said. ““I took out one of my knives … I wrote a letter on my computer and went outside to smoke one last cigarette.”
But a sound Josh heard from outside of the barracks at Fort Riley in Kansas distracted him and he stopped. It was the meow of a tiny black and white kitten who emerged from the bushes.
“He just walked up and started rubbing up against my leg and let me pet him, I broke down crying, burst into tears,” he says in his short film Josh & Scout, a Mutual Rescue. “Maybe he knew there was something I couldn’t quite handle.”
“I stopped thinking about all my problems and started thinking about his problems and what I could do to help him,” Josh said.
He named the kitten “Scout” and began to feed him every day. Josh credits this kitten with saving his life but, one day Scout stopped showing up and Josh was a little heartbroken.
Josh continued with his life, missing Scout, but eventually, he started dating a girl and they decided to go to an adoption event and adopt a cat since Scout had such a positive impact on Josh’s life.
“All of a sudden a little black and white paw shoots out from a crate and starts smacking me in my left arm,” he says when he saw Scout at the shelter. “I opened up that cage, and I pulled him out, and I held him tight.”
Josh immediately signed the papers to adopt Scout. Adopting this sweet kitten who saved Josh’s life, made him want to improve himself. He started eating better, exercising and he even quit smoking.
He was eventually medically discharged from the Army, married his girlfriend Becky, earned a master’s degree in clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling, and got a job with the Department of Veteran Affairs counseling disabled vets.
Just from this chance encounter with a kitten Josh didn’t go through with ending his life and now helps other veterans going through the same problems he had. Who knows how many lives Josh has saved through his work..
Find out more about Josh and Scout’s amazing story in the video below.