A Veteran With PTSD Recalls the Night He Met the Cat That Saved Him From Taking His Own Life

Josh and Scout Mutual Rescue

While stationed in Fort Riley, Kansas after suffering a traumatic brain injury in Iraq, soldier Josh Marino fell into a deep pit of anxiety caused by posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). On the evening he decided to take his own life, he sat outside the barracks to smoke a final cigarette and heard a kitten meowing in the bushes. Once the black and white kitten revealed himself, Marino decided that there was so much more to life than what he was feeling.

…He just walked up and started rubbing up against my leg, letting me pet him. I broke down crying, burst into tears. Maybe he knew that there was something I couldn’t quite handle. I stopped thinking about all my problems and I started to think about all his problems what I could do to help him …Even before he was my cat, before he even knew me that well, Scout saved my life. He put me on a different path. He gave me the confidence to try to come back from all the adversity that I was feeling.

The cat disappeared for a bit, but when Marino and new his girlfriend were out shopping, they stopped by the Fort Riley Stray Animal Shelter during an adoption fair and the little black cat reached his paw out of the cage to let Marino know he was there. Marino took the cat home and named him Scout.