Retired veteran adopts dog to help with PTSD

A dog that people often overlook because of its breed is being adopted by a retired veteran because of an uncanny connection.

Rocky, a 5-month-old,  terrier, pit bull, and shepherd mix, loves playing in the yard, fetching balls and eating treats.

Since May 19, Rocky has called the Vernon County Humane Society home and has been waiting ever since for his forever home. But lucky for Rocky, only a few weeks into his stay John Jones walked through the doors.

Jones is a retired veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 25 years.

“I would have stayed in longer, but I got injured and then had to go through 14 surgeries. So the military said because of the time spent in there, I didn’t heal as well as young soldiers, so I had my time in and did my duty and it was time to hang it up,” said Jones.

Jones said it wasn’t until he retired that he realized how much the military had impacted his life.

“When a person is deployed and out in a combat zone, some of the things you see you repress,” said Jones. “We don’t usually deal with our emotions until we are back here.”

His wife, Cristal Jones, said he just wasn’t the same person

“He would have nightmares every night, kicking, tossing and screaming,” she said.

“I lost friends and I’ve lost soldiers that were underneath me so sometimes I would break out and cry for no reason,” the former soldier said.

His wife said he would get up multiple times a night to make sure the doors and windows were locked.

“He would go for three  days without any sleep because he would be up in the night, checking on our daughter. There would be times he would be half on the bed and floor with our daughter because he felt someone was going to come get her,” said Cristal Jones.

John Jones was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2004.

“I wouldn’t wish that upon anybody,” said Jones. “No one can understand what I am going through, so I feel isolated.”

In an effort to help Jones with his feelings of isolation, the family decided to adopt a dog and what better dog, than one that is often isolated too.

“I saw some other dogs in there but when they pointed Rocky out. I kind of just knew,” said Jones.

“For him to choose the dog instantly, it just blew my mind,” said Cristal.

For a dog whose breed often separates them from the rest to a veteran who once felt misunderstood, the pairing just doesn’t get much better than this.

“When I am along by myself during the week, Rocky would come in and he is going to be a great support for me, a great support for me,” said Jones.

As soon as Rocky gets more comfortable at home, Jones is going to enroll Rocky into the “Paws 4 Independence” program.

It’s a nonprofit organization that trains service dogs to help veterans suffering from PTSD, along with several other disabilities.