LEANDER, Texas-- Retired United States Army Combat Medic Stacy Dickey endured many battles over her near 10-year military career. However, some of her most difficult battles have occurred since returning home in 2011.
“I don't leave the house. I stay indoors, I don't go anywhere,” Dickey said, “I turn down invitations, typically it is about three to five days before I do leave that front door. I’ve been in this mode where I only go out the door if I absolutely have to and end up regretting it every time.”
Dickey, who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is one of thousands of veterans who return from combat with a number of symptoms difficult to treat. According to a National Institute of Mental Health Study, 22 veterans commit suicide every day. Dickey was almost one of them.
“I’ve almost taken my life three times,” Dickey said.
In 2013, Jeffrey Anderson began Rebuilding Warriors, a non-profit organization designed to help veterans overcome their many obstacles.
“There is an absolute, instant connection between the dog and the individual,” Anderson said.
Anderson, whose organization has provided 24 dogs to veterans, does not charge veterans for services. A service that Dickey would not have been able to afford otherwise.
“There is no way I could afford this on my own,” Dickey said.
For Dickey, she believes that her life has already been changed by the presence of her four-year-old German Sheppard, Gitte.
“I have a mission now, to take care of this animal,” Dickey said, “The job that she performs for me gives me the ability to step outside and live life.”