Robert (Bob) Quimby didn’t know anything about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He didn’t know he was affected by what he had seen in Vietnam at all – until one day his boss asked about his combat experiences: “I walked back to my desk and had my first flashback because that wall that had been built up broke down.” In 1987, after 13 years working at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Bob resigned and the VA labeled him unemployable. Bob – a Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient – says he cried the first time he heard that word.
Bob was diagnosed with PTSD in 1989 and has lived with this painful and debilitating disease for more than 20 years. Even though life goes on for Bob, he’s been missing something – a friend that could help alleviate stress, wouldn’t judge and would always be there for him — and he decided it was time to bring a calming companion into his life. It was time for a rescue dog.
Bob read an article in his local paper earlier this year that mentioned Pets for Patriots, and how a companion pet can bring positive benefits to veterans and service members with PTSD and other psychological trauma. Pets for Patriots and the San Diego County Department of Animal Services worked together to help Bob find a new friend. Within only a few weeks, the shelter notified Bob that an owner had surrendered a pet named Trust and that he would have two hours to make a decision on whether to adopt her. Bob went to meet Trust and “adopted her on the spot.”
“In only a week’s time, I have felt and have been friendlier and less agitated.”
Not long after the adoption Bob noticed a significant change in his behavior for the better, which he attributes to his relationship with Trust. Companion pets provide unique physical and emotional benefits to veterans and their families, including those suffering from post-combat stress, moving into civilian life or experiencing feelings of isolation. Spending time with a dog has been shown to reduce stress and feelings of loneliness. For us at Pets for Patriots, it’s a win-win: veterans benefit from the healing companionship of the dog or cat, and shelter pets’ lives are saved by finding loving homes.
By connecting veterans and pets in mutual friendship and companionship, we give those who selflessly defend our country’s freedom – as well as pets most at-risk – opportunities for a quality of life they deserve. For Bob and Trust, it’s all about second chances and unconditional love.
“Having Trust is really the icing on the cake. My life is so wonderful now. I’m very grateful to be in the life I am.”
Read more about Bob Quimby and his honorable adoption of Trust, and hear his story in his own words. And if you or someone you know would benefit from bringing a last-chance pet into their lives, learn more about our program and apply to become a member Patriot.