Heroes for Heroes

October 10, 2011  

A veteran shares how her pit bull is helping her heal and speaks out against breed-discriminatory legislation

By Allison Sabo

I’m a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom V at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. I was in the Utah Army National Guard and was deployed for a long weekend that ended up lasting for four months in Colorado, training for a year in Afghanistan.

When I got home, like most veterans of foreign wars, I had separation and post-traumatic stress issues. I was never on the verge of anything that would’ve been self harming, but I became quite reclusive. This was not my personality before I was deployed. I found myself in my apartment alone and watching bad cable television and surfing the Internet until 3:00 or sometimes 4:00 in the morning.

I’m also an alcoholic. Drinking never would’ve crossed my mind before deployment. Because I became so reclusive, I became fed up with myself. I started going to therapy. I was in weekly therapy for about a year.

I’ve always been a dog lover. We had dogs growing up. One week in February 2009, my therapist suggested I get a pet. She said it would help me forget about my needs and it would cause me to focus on something that needed my attention. Enter my pit bull Spackle – yes, like the stuff you put on walls – Spackle.

Spackle gave me a reason to get out of bed. She gave me a reason to get to the dog park. She gave me a reason to start loving myself again. Because if it weren’t for Spackle and having to take care of her and clean up after her and problem solve because of her, I would still be that reclusive person I was two and a half years ago. I owe my life to Spackle.

I find it sad that banning breeds is impacting civilians and servicemen and women alike. For animals to be banned because of their birth or looks is wrong. There are places I can’t move to because of breed-discriminatory legislation. I had my sights set on Denver for a while, but if I ever want to move there I would have to give up Spackle, and that is just not an option.

I recently read an article about how a pit bull actually sat on his dad while the owner was contemplating suicide. The man had his service weapon in his mouth, saw his dog and decided his dog gave him a reason to live.

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Comments

4 Responses to “Heroes for Heroes”
  1. Thank you for sharing your story! Very emtional story and many can relate in various ways of how their dog haved saved their lives. Sasha change my mind and perception of this bully breed. Ever since Sasha has come into my life my heart and eyes have been opened and along with my family we’ve become advocates for pit bulls. Keep telling your story people are listening and change is happening.

  2. AnnVanderlaan says:

    Thank you for your service, and thank you for sharing your beautiful girl and your story with us.

  3. AdrienneClegg says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and for your service which came at a great price to you.

    I too lost myself for a time and during one of my lowest points,rescued a female Pit Bull (Gaia) from Dog Fighters. That’s been almost 6 years now and the act of saving her, then learning about and dealing with about her various behavior issues freed me from the cage of my own construction. We have both allowed the the most soulful dogs on earth steal our hearts, how lucky we are.! All too often people have told me how lucky Gaia is that I found her, it makes me laugh because I am the lucky one. I am now a full time Pit Bull advocate, following an angel who happens to look like a Pit Bull.