James Capararo, a retired veteran who served in the Middle East in the late 1990s and in Afghanistan after 9/11, came home to the United States with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Before getting his service dog, Bianca, about 10 years ago, he even attempted suicide one time. He suffers from nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks, and anxiety disorders, reported Life With Dogs on January 28.
Now Bianca is the one who needs help. She has assisted him with his PTSD symptoms and has made his struggles with civilian life easier. In essence, she has saved his life and now he wants to save hers. Bianca has a “tumor in her brain stem,” James said.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the financial means to help her. When James returned from the war, he stayed at a Veteran’s Assistance facility, where nurses suggested that he obtain a trained service dog to help him with his PTSD. Capararo noted that Bianca has helped him cope and that she is everything to him. Capararo thinks of Bianca as family, and he says he will not give up on her.
The dog needs expensive radiation therapy costing thousands of dollars, which, unfortunately, the Veterans Affairs (VA) does not cover. The VA does pay for veterinary treatments for some military service dogs that are deemed to be medically necessary, but not for those who treat veterans with PTSD. James thinks that “the VA needs to stand up and treat [PSTD] like a real disability. “
The VA is researching whether dogs treating veterans with PTSD are essential for those veterans. If they are determined to be essential, the veterinary care those dogs require will be covered. However, the results of that study aren’t due for several years. This is time that Bianca and James do not have. Bianca is already showing signs of her illness with a wobbly gait. In the meantime, James has set up a GoFundMe page to raise the money for Bianca’s veterinary care. You can go to the following link if you want to help: http://www.gofundme.com/savebiancaslife
Whatever I have to do to save her life to return the favor of saving my life, I’m going to do it.
News Channel 5 KSDK noted that over five million people–civilians and veterans alike–suffer from PTSD. As was reported in an Inquisitr article on September 17, 2014, service dogs can be life-saving to veterans and others. They can provide a way for veterans to “reset” their emotions. There are several organizations that provide these amazing dogs to needy veterans, such as Courageous Companions and K9’s for Warriors. Some organizations provide the service dogs free of charge for veterans in need.
Do you think that the VA should pay for the service dogs’ veterinary bills of veterans with PTSD?
Photo and video courtesy KSDK.com Channel 5.