For One Veteran, an Adopted Husky is the Path to Healing
Trey the dog adapts to life on three legs, and shows his dad how to start again.
Gary + Trey
Gary was battling PTSD and depression when he met a three-legged Husky named Trey, who helped him learn how to heal.
"This dog looked at me with those gorgeous, light blue Husky eyes as if to say, ‘What’s your problem? I am getting along fine, and you should too. Let me show you how."
I had just come out of being released from an inpatient treatment for depression and suicidal ideology (and attempt). I was barely capable of taking care of myself with my own disabilities and conditions of PTSD, and I had limited mobility due to injuries sustained in combat in Iraq. One of the volunteers at Carroll County Animal Shelter brought a dog out for me to see, and my heart sank. I could feel my eyes starting to moisten, but I maintained my composure and stern facade of a disgruntled veteran. I took the leash and this Husky followed me outside.
We both limped our way around the grounds for a few minutes. Him sniffing for the good spot, and me trying to convince myself that the last thing that I needed was a dog with a disability. This dog looked at me with those gorgeous, light blue Husky eyes as if to say, “What’s your problem? I am getting along fine, and you should too. Let me show you how.”
We limped back into the shelter and I passed the leash over to a volunteer. The shelter manager smiled at me and said, “He is highly adoptable, and will not be here this time tomorrow—he will be eligible to be adopted once we get the staples from his amputation surgery out. But Paws4Bravery will pay for the adoption and chip if you want him today.”
I was still an emotional wreck from my recent treatment. After a bit more conversation, I learned the details of the Husky’s backstory: how he got hit by a car and a passerby brought him in, and the shelter searched for his original owner to no avail. I decided give this Husky a forever home.
There was very little information on him. “1-year-old male Husky, short hair” was all they had. So the first thing I did was give him a name. This handsome three-legged guy will now be called “Trey.” Trey had to adapt to having three legs. And I am willing to bet that his accident that caused his injury traumatized him, likely with PTSD. The first couple days was the usual adjustment period of new human, new place, new home, new smells, new property limits with a fenced in yard for him to roam free. Now it has been four months since I adopted Trey, and I can’t imagine my life without him. His training is coming along excellent, and I take him with me everywhere I go. He is a part of my life, and I need him. Trey keeps me from falling back into my depression, he gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning, get out, go places, meet people because everyone wants to come up to this handsome guy and pet him. Trey loves meeting people and is great with children. It’s cliché to say “who rescued whom,” but I can honestly say that Trey saved my life—and that he has saved me from becoming just another statistic.
Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Gary won Carroll County Animal Shelter in Georgia a 2018 Holiday Wishes award.