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Please read the stories of some of the folks who we have had the pleasure of helping here at Veterans K9 Solutions"
Jewell Angel Covey-Couch
Hello, my name is Jewell, but everyone calls me by my nickname Angel. I’m a disable Vietnam era female Navy veteran.
My life in the Navy was not what I had been prepared for during training. Life was not easy. I was stationed in Key West, Fl., Navy Air Station/ VF-101. There were 23 women and at least 300 to 500 men.
Life was not easy. We women faced many horrors. Many, many horrors. Here’s my story.
Not to long after I arrived, I was awoken one night by a man with his hand over my mouth. He raped me. I wanted to report it, but the other women told me to forget because there was no to tell. My bedding and night clothes were thrown away. After that we were worn to walk in twos or threes. We were not safe. We faced molestations, hunger, and forced to pull double duty. One day I was told to use a type of floor striper to remove the build up wax. Little did I know that the machine would malfunction and punch me into the wall. It took 3 seamen to pull me out of the wall. I was placed in sick-bay for a week. They listed it as a pulled muscle in my back. One of my friends, her name was Julia tried to commit suicide with a knife. She was discharged, honorable under medical condition. I became pregnant threw one of my many attacks, so I was given an honorable discharged and some type of metal. I think it was a National Defense Metal.
I married and gave birth to another daughter. Later on in 1981 I gave birth to a son and in 1983 to another son. I also started working for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Regional Office in Philadelphia, Pa. My life consisted of being a working wife and mother, but I was fighting demon, nightmares, flashbacks and my family. I started seeing doctors at the VAMC in Philadelphia and that’s where my treatments for depression, anger, back pain and PTSD. Between the years of 1990-1999, I have at least 5 suicide tries. In 1990 I was sent to Washington, D.C. to give testimony for the treatment that I and other women received while stationed with VF-101, not long after that the Navy Tailhook scandal broke. In 1999 I was sent to the VAMC in Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Ca. I was hospitalized with 5 other women, who’s background was like mine. In 2005 a private doctor had discovered that I did not suffer a pulled muscle but injured my spinal cord. Treatment for us was a 2 month stay. I won’t go into detail but I will tell you that I’m the only one left standing. My comrade Frankie had taken her life in 2013. They are all gone. PTSD had taken them. PTSD won.
My family will tell you I was a walking time-bomb. Everyone walked on egg shells around me, even at work.
One day my late husband bought us a puppy, a Basset Hound, that we named Buster. After he passed away, my children moved me and Buster to Georgia, where I went into treatment at the VAMC. One of my doctors recommended that I see a man who train me and Buster, to work together as a team, to help me battle with PTSD. I didn’t think it would work for us since Buster was a Basset Hound, but Jerry met him and we started training. Buster and I started on a journey, of a life time. Buster became my life line. He understood when an anxiety attack was about to happen. He would place his foot on my foot to draw my attention to him. If I was not paying attention, he would rise up and take one heavy paw and slap me in my chest. There was this one night that I woke up couching because Buster was hitting me on my head. Somehow, I had stop breathing during the night. I informed my primary care doctor about what had happen an after testing, they found that I had sleep apnea and was placed on a c-cap machine. Buster understood the pain in my back and would place himself behind me were the pain was. Because of Buster I was able to go to church and do my marketing. Buster helped me to adjust to the times that my son requested that I live with him and his family at Fort Drum, NY and for 2 months at the Scofield Base in Hawaii, but mostly Buster and I lived alone here in Georgia. Buster helped me to live. Buster gave me a reason to live. Buster forced me to live. Buster helped me to fight the darkness. There were a few times that I did have to call out for safety, but like Jerry told me “Angel trust your dog”, and I would. Buster was by my side when my mother took ill and passed away. I trusted Buster with my life and he treated me with his.
Two years ago, Jerry gave me a puppy, a white Germen Shepard. His nick name is Bear. Bear was to be trained to help with my balance since the VAMC and outside doctors diagnose me with not only PTSD but TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). Together Buster, Bear and I trained. Bear went through his classes as Buster watched. Life was good.
The three of us facing the world. Then Buster started slowing down. He would eat and drink a little. The doctor found cancer, a few months later Buster was gone and I was in shock. Jerry took over because I couldn’t think. He handled everything. Bear was grieving. I was grieving. I started to shut myself off, until Bear did a “Buster” and placed his paw on my lap. This was his way of saying “I got you”.
Bear and I are a team now. Life goes on. Life goes on with Bear.
Thank you for taking the time to listen to a little of my story.
Angel and Bear Couch