Pet Tales: A kitten saves a soldier's life
By Linda Wilson Fuoco
June 10, 2017
After suffering a brain injury in Iraq, Army Sgt. Josh Marino “was in a really, really bad place. I did not want to deal with it anymore.”
Exhausted from his struggle with the “invisible wounds” of post-traumatic stress disorder, he planned to end his life one night in 2008 at Fort Riley in north central Kansas.
“I took out one of my knives ... I wrote a letter on my computer” and went outside to smoke one last cigarette.
Then he heard a soft “meow,” and a small black-and-white kitten emerged from the bushes.
“I broke down crying.... He saved my life ... I stopped thinking about all my problems and started thinking about his problems and what I could do to help him.”
Mr. Marino recounts his story in a 6½-minute-film, “Josh and Scout,” featured on mutualrescue.org, the website of a non-profit organization whose mission is “revealing the impact people and animals have on one another.”
Mr. Marino, 37, is a native of Turtle Creek who now lives in Brookline with his wife, Becky, and their daughter, Penelope, who was born Feb. 24. They have three cats and three ferrets.
After eight years of service, he was medically discharged from the Army in July 2009. He moved back to Pittsburgh, got married in September 2010, and earned a master’s degree in clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling. He now works in the Human Engineering Research Laboratories, a program operated by the University of Pittsburgh and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“It was an honor to serve,” Mr. Marino said. “I am still serving. I am just serving in a different uniform.
“I love my job. I work with people with disabilities every day.”
His counseling includes telling veterans about the kitten who saved him. He directs them to Humane Animal Rescue shelters in Homewood and the North Side to look for animals who need a home.
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Josh and Scout, a Mutual Rescue™ Film