This suicidal army veteran with PTSD had his life saved by a cat

This suicidal army veteran with PTSD had his life saved by a cat

For a lot of military veterans, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (more commonly known as PTSD) can be a major problem. People who suffer from the condition usually feel extremely paranoid and anxious, and might also find themselves dealing with flashbacks or nightmares of traumatic events.

Unfortunately, because of the mental and physical toll the disorder can inflict, people who suffer from PTSD often turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms - or worse, suicide.

For Josh Marino, a veteran who sustained a brain injury during the Iraq war, this was exactly the case. “A lot of [soldiers] come home without realizing we are bringing the war home with us," he explained. "In a lot of cases, having an invisible wound that nobody can see - you're just not believed."

Tragically, the ongoing trauma of the things that Josh had seen and experienced during combat became too much for him, and he made a plan to end his life.

"There came a night when I was in a really, really bad place. I didn't want to deal with it anymore," said Josh. "So I took out one of my knives, set it to the side. I wrote a letter up on my computer, set it there on the desktop. Then I went downstairs and walked out the back door of the barracks, and I smoked a cigarette in the rain. It was going to be my last one."

But, in this one pivotal moment of Josh's life, something happened.

"I heard a little meow," he said. And then, "This little black and white kitten comes walking out of the bushes. He just walked up and was brushing up against my legs. [He] let me pet him. I broke down crying."

Josh said that this caused some kind of change in him. "I stopped thinking about all of my problems," he said, "and I started thinking about all of his problems."

Having found this poor defenseless animal, Josh realized he couldn't end his life. Instead, he took it as a sign that he had been given a new purpose. So, every day, he went outside with a plate of tuna and he fed the kitten, whom he named Scout. In turn, Scout let Josh pet him, and gradually grew so familiar with him that he learned to recognize the sound of his voice.

And it meant everything to the army vet.

"This cat gave me something to look forward to every day," he explained. "He didn't see anything wrong with me. He didn't see any flaws or imperfections. It felt safe."

But that all fell apart when Josh got back from work one evening to find that Scout was no longer at the barracks.

Amazingly, though, this is not where their story ends.

A few months later, when Josh had found himself a girlfriend, Becky, and was beginning to settle back into a normal life, he decided to adopt a pet. So, the couple went to a local shelter.

And this is what happened:

"Becky and I were walking through these two rows of crates [and] all of a sudden a little black and white paw shoots out from a crate and starts smacking me in my left arm. I looked inside, and it's that same little black and white cat. I opened up that cage, and I pulled him out, and I held him tight." 

Just over a year later, Josh got married to Becky and moved in with her (and her three cats). And now, with the help of family, friends, and animals, the soldier is on the road to feeling well again.