For Travis Scott, his dog Ty is more than just a pet.
“Our bond goes through the leash,” Scott said. “When I’m feeling anxious or depressed, he’ll know and can help me cope.”
Scott served in the military for seven years — in Japan and Virginia — as a firefighter and emergency medical technician.
While he was serving, he broke his back and fractured his skull during a rescue training exercise, but he stayed in the military for an additional five years. Now, he has been diagnosed with Post-traumatic Stress Disability, traumatic brain injury and military sexual trauma.
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“It has been a challenge to adjust from military to civilian life,” Scott said. “It was a culture shock, really.”
He sees a psychologist, but he said he has struggled in the transition of learning how to act, talk and live like he did before he entered the military.
Ty has also faced some challenges.
The shepherd/husky mix is two years old and ended up in a high-kill shelter.
But thanks to K9s for Warriors, Scott and Ty are now an inseparable duo.
K9s for Warriors serves veterans who are recovering from military trauma. To do so, they rescue animals from dire scenarios such as neglect, abandonment and homelessness. The nonprofit organization then trains them as service dogs.
The organization then trains veterans who completed a lengthy application and 18-month waiting list to use their service dog as a “prescription on four legs” or “battle buddy.”
Scott participated in Camp K9 — a three-week training program — in Florida. During that time, he and Ty learned to become a team.
“The bonding I have done with my dog has given me a new sense of self,” Scott said. “I needed a unique treatment tool to get me out of my rut, and he is that tool.”
The pair graduated alongside ten other warrior-dog teams, and they are now home in Wichita and adjusting to life as a team.
“My emotions flow to him and he can recognize if I’m anxious or depressed or having trouble,” he continued.
When Ty recognizes that Scott is stressed, he will try to grab Scott’s attention and distract him from the anxiety he is feeling.
“He helps me cope with what I’ve had happen to me and he has my back,” he said. “I know I have someone to look to.”
The nonprofit organization provides service dogs to veterans at no cost.
“I can’t say enough good things about K9s for Warriors,” Scott said. “If you’re a veteran and want to or need to perform better in your life, I greatly suggest K9s for Warriors. They want to help you get better.”