Loyal Companion Helps a Veteran With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The hovering aircraft was just a plain-vanilla traffic chopper, a benignly common species to Southern California skies. But its mere presence overhead was enough to make Tori Stitt stiffen.
Tori Stitt found that medication and therapy did not rid her of the trauma of a tour in Iraq. Her service dog, Devon, is a big part of her recovery.
More than a year ago, Ms. Stitt, a former Navy officer who did a tour in northern Iraq, might have made a beeline for her car, ducked under a table or broken down in panic merely from the chopping of rotors — a sound she still associates with combat casualties. But this time, she remained outwardly calm, breathing deep, while silently and strenuously massaging the ears of the service dog at her feet.
The moment was one more small victory in Ms. Stitt’s road back from war. Medications and therapy have helped her cope with, though not overcome, the depression, sleeplessness and anxiety caused by post-traumatic stress disorder. But nothing has been more important to her recovery, she says, than Devon, the amiable golden retriever that has become her constant companion.