A Veteran Fights to Save his Service Dog

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James Capararo is a veteran from St. Louis and is trying to save the life of one of his best friends, and service dog.  Now, just like many other veterans, James is facing the possibility of losing the dog that saved him from a long battle with PTSD.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects more than five million people, both civilians and veterans.  It’s a difficult disorder to treat, as sometimes those affected will isolate themselves and/or do whatever they have to in an effort to keep people away.  Also, the nightmares and flashbacks are something that if you have never been through it, it’s almost impossible to understand.

Bianca is James’ dog.  She’s helped him through his bout with PTSD, and is his best friend in the world right now.  James has to struggle through days sometimes, and Bianca has made civilian life a bit easier for him.  Now, she is in need, and James is not in a financial position to help her.

“She has a tumor in her brain stem,” James said.

James is determined to help her out.  After all, she has been there for him throughout all his suffering.  Now he needs to help her and isn’t sure how he will do it with the limited income he makes.

“It’s time for me to come to her aid,” said James.

James served in the Middle East in both the late 90’s and in Afghanistan after 9/11.  Upon coming home, he was diagnosed with PTSD.  James suffers with nightmares, panic attacks and anxiety disorders.

“I did attempt suicide one time, you know, before I got into the program, you know, until I got my dog,” said James.

After a stay at a Veteran’s Assistance facility, it was suggested to James that he get a trained service dog.  This might help him work through his problems with PTSD, and might help him become more acclimated with civilian life.

“She’s everything to me. It took me from that dark place, and I started to change,” said James.

The radiation therapy that Bianca needs is very expensive.  The vet that is treating her doesn’t even really know how long the therapy will prolong her life if the full spectrum of treatments she needs are not administered.  The thousands of dollars that everything is going to cost is something that James just cannot afford, and when asking the military he readily went and fought for, putting his life in danger, he was stonewalled.

While the VA does actually pay for treatments to veteran’s service dogs, they are not going to be helping James.  The military does NOT provide benefits for dogs used to help treat PTSD.  Something both military vets and civilians feel needs to change.  The amazing amount of help these dogs provide to people suffering with this horrible disorder is something that is lifesaving at times.

“I think the VA needs to stand up and treat it like a real disability, you know,” said James. “We (veterans) have to come up with the money, and this thing gets expensive.”

James refuses to give up on Bianca.  Even if she is starting to show signs of her sickness.

“Whatever I have to do to save her life to return the favor of saving my life, I’m going to do it,” he said.

The VA is doing research into what, if any, benefits there are to people with PTSD trained service dogs.  If the research supports the idea that these dogs are essential to the treatment of vets diagnosed with PTSD, then the dogs will be covered for any veterinarian services they need to keep them alive for the vets they do so much for.

James has started a GoFundMe.com page to raise money for Bianca’s vet bills.  You can go to http://www.gofundme.com/savebiancaslife, or simply click on the link provided.  We have seen so many times where our wonderful readers have help out others in similar positions.  Please consider helping James and Bianca out if you can afford to.  PTSD is a really difficult thing to go through, for both those diagnosed with it, and their loved ones and family members that have to sometimes see this disorder in action.  We are sure both James and Bianca would be very grateful for your help.

1.28.15 - James and Bianca