Pint-sized Captain steers veteran through PTSD recovery

Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, were no match for one little dog who gave his adopted veteran a new leash on life – and a fresh start decades after the Vietnam war.

Oh Captain, my Captain!

Life has an interesting way of bringing joy into our lives when we least expect it. Some might call it serendipity, a type of happy accident, such as seeing a old dear friend you haven’t seen in years at the grocery store. 

Take, for instance, the story of an Ohio man and a foster dog. While visiting his cousin, Larry – an Army veteran from the Vietnam War – was introduced to a spunky terrier named Captain, but who everyone called Capi.

Larry’s cousin had been caring for Capi through a foster program at Paws and Prayers, an Akron animal welfare organization that rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes unwanted dogs and cats.

While in the back yard enjoying the summer barbeque, Capi decided to make himself comfortable on Larry’s lap – unprompted and uninvited – where he fell into a deep, peaceful sleep. Larry and Captain poolside

“I could really like this dog,” Larry recalls telling his cousin.

Not knowing that an adoption for Capi was already in the works, Larry asked his cousin if he could adopt Capi. It had been 10 years since Larry and his wife had owned a dog, so naturally when they met Capi they knew it was time to open their hearts and lives to the possibility of adopting him.

Saddened by the news Capi was going to be adopted by another family, the Vietnam veteran asked his cousin to let him know if anything were to change.

Fate rears its fluffy little head

As luck would have it, a few days after the barbeque, Capi’s adoption fell through. Lawrence and his wife were going to be able to adopt Capi through Paws and Prayers and their partnership with Pets for Patriots.

As a member of Pets for Patriots, Larry received a 50% discount off the adoption fee at Paws and Prayers. In addition, Larry enjoys an ongoing 10% discount for Capi’s medical care through Pets for Patriots’ veterinary partners, Lifetime Pet Wellness Center and Buckeye Veterinary Clinic. Together with other program benefits, these incentives help make pet adoption more affordable for Larry and other veterans like him.

Nearly six months after the barbecue that changed everything, Larry and his wife are in love with their new addition. By all accounts, Capi is pretty happy with his chosen forever family as well.

“He is a joy, he listens well and loves to play,” Larry says. Larry and Captain play ball

Life is good with Captain at the helm

Recently, Larry was diagnosed with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of his experiences in Vietnam. He still has a lot of painful and scary memories to work through during his therapy sessions, but credits Capi with helping him move past them.

Simply put, the hapless little dog’s hugs make Larry smile from ear to ear.

“My little dog brightens even my worst days,” the Vietnam veteran says.

Larry realizes that he’s not unique in benefiting from the unconditional love of a companion pet, and believes other veterans could alleviate their pain through pet adoption.

“I want to tell any veteran who might be suffering from depression or having a rough time to get a rescue dog, it will change your life,” says Larry, with the full confidence of a man who knows about what he speaks.

How did fate bring your pet into your life?

Other stories you might like:
Rescued dog helps Army veteran combat PTSD
PTSD veteran saved by once-abused one-eyed dog
Rescued dog rescues Vietnam veteran with PTSD
Best PTSD treatment may be man’s best friend

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