Beth Ford RothHome Post Blogger
Blogger Beth Ford Roth was born into a military family and has covered issues important to service members and their loved ones for many years. She has worked as a broadcast journalist in both commercial television and public radio.
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Carlos reminded me he was far from an anomaly, as tens of thousands of service members continued to return home from combat, forever altered by what they had seen and experienced in war. He wanted the people who read the blog posts I wrote to know this. That was why he told me his story.
Carlos told me he and Logan had been to only one public sporting event since returning from Iraq. It was another Padres game, and the experience drained him.
Carlos said he knew Logan had a better sense of smell and hearing than he did, and trusted Logan to alert him of any danger – be it real or imagined - which allowed the Marine veteran to relax, even if only a little bit.
Carlos, who served in the Marines as a leader, teaching fellow Leathernecks the tools they’d need to survive in the war zone, decided to become a full-time trainer at Freedom Dogs, teaching Marines with PTSD how to survive their war wounds.
When Carlos first started attending training sessions at Freedom Dogs, he felt he didn’t fit in. Big reason: Carlos was afraid of dogs. He didn’t like them, and he believed they didn’t like him. In the tough, gang-infested Chicago streets where Carlos grew up, dogs were treated more as weapons than pets.
A critical care nurse and veteran’s daughter named Meribeth Russell started Freedom Dogs in 2006. Russell got the idea when she participated in a hospital study that found obese children who were able to bond with a therapy dog had an easier time losing weight.
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