"DD saved my life," explains a tearful Blade Anthony. It doesn't matter whether she's changed me or whether I'm different or I'm better, the fact that I'm here is the number one most important thing that she's done for me. She's allowed me to continue here on this earth for whatever God wants me to do more." Blade served in the US Marines as a Corpsman, helping people who were sick and injured. He explains that once he returned to the US, he felt as though he did not fit and no longer belonged here. Blade suffers from PTSD and turned to alcohol to ease his pain. Then one day, he made a visit that would change his life.
Pets for Vets is an organization that rescues shelter animals, rehabilitates them, trains them, and matches them specifically with Veterans who are suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, anxiety, and depression. When Clarissa Black, the Founder of Pets for Vets, received Blade's application, he told her that the night before; he had contacted the suicide prevention hotline. She recalls that when he contacted her, he told her that he just wanted a companion, and he that he needed someone to love him. Black says that she matched Blade with DD because their stories were very similar. They both had scars: hers on her face…his inside.
"The day that I introduced Blade and DD was nothing short of a miracle," says Black. "It was amazing." Blade explains that Black told him that DD was being given to him to thank him for his service to your country. He said that when he opened his eyes, all he saw were her (DD) eyes looking at him and he fell apart. He said that all of his feelings of not being happy were sucked away at that moment. Black says that Blade laid down on her bed and curled up with her and just held her paw. Black says that she could feel the weight just being lifted off of him and that he was able to take a breath for the first time since his return from deployment.
"Pets heal. Pets clearly heal," says Black. "There have been many medical studies that show having a pet lowers stress levels. And lowering your stress level makes the rest of your body feel much better." She says that DD has helped Blade immeasurably and that he is a different person. She believes that he no longer has those thoughts of suicide. She feels that they needed each other and that they are helping each other heal.
"DD has motivated me to do the things in life that you feel excited about that you want to do," explains a tearful Blade. "I write and sing music and I just started picking up my guitar and started singing again whereas I hadn't done that in a very long time. DD rescued me. I'm the rescued person that DD is helping. I'm the one that wasn't doing well. She pulled me out of the doldrums. She pulled me out of the pound. She got me off the streets and she saved my life. I'm just happy to be with her…so happy."