Bob Grubbs' Story:
What does sacrifice really mean? If you were told you could do something great, something important, but you would have to sacrifice your sense of peace and security and that many people would likely not even care that you did it, would you? Bob Grubbs, an Army Veteran, did.
“I was very idealistic when I was in the Army until I got home, and I saw that nobody really cared that you were in Vietnam,” said Bob Grubbs, a Fort Smith Veteran diagnosed with PTSD from his time in the military many years ago.
“They actually thought that you were bad news,” Bob went on to say, “I still get that nagging feeling sometimes that people don’t respect me, that people don’t like me because I served. Scout doesn’t seem to think that though.”
Scout is an 80-pound, floppy-eared German Shepherd that serves Bob as selflessly as Bob once served our country. He has been trained to help the Veteran combat his depression, PTSD, and mobility issues.
When Bob returned from the military, he was taken aback at how much things had changed. He did not recognize himself or the people he had left to defend. A thick blanket of depression engulfed him, and he enrolled in grad school just to, in his words, “keep his sanity.”
“Everything in general was just different. Part of my depression was the way people were acting- the way they viewed Vietnam soldiers…,”Bob trailed off, looking down at Scout who had placed himself faithfully by Bob’s side.
After a pause, Bob continued, stating with unwavering resilience, “I was not ashamed of serving my country. I was just sad about the treatment I was getting.”
Bob had left his visionary ideals in Vietnam. Though he did not see any “bloody battles,” his time serving warped his concept of trusting people. He refused to even talk about the war for nearly 30 years, until he happened upon Soldier ON Service Dogs one fateful day in July at Pinnacle Hills Mall. He had just finished a T.V. special about service dogs and told his wife, June, that he needed one- that is, until he saw the price tag attached.
“I never thought I would be able to afford a service dog, but then, I met you guys and you told me you would just give me one,” Bob smiled as he reminisced. “I thought, ‘finally, someone cares.’”
Scout was placed with Bob just this year. The Veteran said that his life has definitely improved since welcoming the loving pooch into his home.
Bob is now able to withstand large crowds and even partake in public speaking engagements without his anxiety getting the best of him. He is also finally talking about his PTSD with a counselor.
“I thought I wanted a German Shepherd, but when I saw Scout I told the trainer, ‘I don’t want an elephant,’” Bob laughed. “But Scout is perfect for me. He takes care of me, and he just makes me laugh sometimes. He’s so funny and he doesn’t bark back like my wife does,” he quipped.
The Bob Grubbs that left for Vietnam all those years ago is finally returning home. Through wagging tails, careful commands, and a bond between man and dog that one has to experience to fully understand, Bob’s trust and happiness- two simple freedoms we all take for granted- are being returned one pet at a time.
“Scout makes me be idealistic again. He tells me, ‘It’s okay, Bob, you can think things,’” Bob said, as his serving friend looked at him with understanding eyes, as if to agree. “Scout gives me a purpose. I rub his head and his ears. I feed him. I learn all kinds of tiny things about him. He’s my baby.”
Bob is just one out of the many American servicemen and women who have had many of their ideals lost in another part of the world. Soldier ON Service Dogs’ mission is to help those who have sacrificed the most and as a result been diagnosed with PTSD and/or traumatic brain injury take back the life they deserve to live by providing them with a highly-trained service dog.
Join the Soldier ON team by going to http://soldieronservicedogs.org/Donate. Instead of donating a large amount ($50, $100,$200) at once, we encourage you to sign up for small, reoccurring donations.
As little as $5 a month (less than your average fast-food lunch) can allow us to provide more Soldier ON service dogs to Veterans in our community.
Together, we can show our local heroes that our country cares.