Joshua Marino, who is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, joined the United States army in 2001. In 2007, he was deployed to the front in Iraq, close to Baghdad.
Only three months after his arrival there, the young man was badly hurt in a violent explosion, which left him with a traumatic brain injury, some internal damage to the nerve tissue of the brain. Joshua didn’t immediately return home. Without any external injuries, however, the young man was considered fit for service, and didn’t return to the United States until 2008, to Fort Riley, which is a military base in the state of Kansas.
It was just then that Joshua started suffering from concentration issues and some memory loss. He also confided that he had the sentiment that his comrades somehow couldn’t understand what he was going through, a particularly frustrating reality.
He stated, “I thought I was damaged goods”.
Joshua began to think the worst, and wrote out a letter on the computer explaining his suicide. He then went to smoke his very last cigarette, when a figure grabbed his attention.
“I saw this little cat under the bushes. I thought, ‘Someone did care.’ Something with a warm heart and soft fur came up to lend a hand, and it really did help”.
Joshua ended up deleting the letter from his computer. Every day, the cat, who he named Scout, returned to receive a tin of tuna that his new friend offered him.
Sadly, an animal control outfit intervened to find all of the fort’s stray cats, which was a terrible blow for Joshua. Meanwhile, the young man had already completely taken back his life, and had even got back in touch with a childhood friend, Becky, who would later go on to become his wife. For Joshua, without Scout, none of it would have been possible.
Even better, fate did finally allow a reunion between the feline and his human friend. While Joshua and Becky were out wandering around the fort and saw an adoption fair, a little black paw reached out for them, and the former soldier immediately recognized Scout.
He immediately explained to the volunteers,
“I want to adopt this cat right now”.
Joshua and Becky did end up bringing Scout with them to Pittsburgh, where the love him and spoil him.
However, in August 2011, sadly, the feline was diagnosed with Leukemia, and veterinarians gave him only a couple weeks to live. Joshua didn’t want to say goodbye to his beloved cat, and so he chose to make the end of Scout’s life the best it could be.
Right up until the day where, sadly, they had no other choice but to say goodbye. Joshua explained:
“I’m going to remember him. That’s honoring his legacy. He was my buddy and my best friend”.
Following Scout’s death, Joshua did continue to work with other veterans, helping them re-adapt to civilian life. His wife introduced him to the organization called Mutual Rescue. The goal of this particular association is to show the benefits that animals can have on humans.
Becky recommended that Joshua send his story in. Just a few weeks later, Mutual Rescue went on to make a short film on the story of Scout and Joshua. The young man hopes that his wonderful and inspiring experience will convince other veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder to seek help.
Joshua ended with this:
“Sometimes your pets are the ones who teach you about your own humanity. They teach you about who you are”.
Watch the entire moving story below for Scout and Joshua’s full story!