Whenever we see a man or a woman in uniform, we somehow feel the urge to greet them and thank them for all they do for our country. These people are brave, devoted, and real-life heroes. Their lives after serving in countries where there are wars, however, are completely changed. The trauma stays with them long after they get back home from deployment.
Such was the case with Sgt. Josh Marino, a young man who served in Baghdad. There, he found himself in a middle of a mortar attack and that caused him a traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder.
Sadly, Marino felt so lonely and as though no one could understand what he was going through that he decided to take his own life.
“I took out one of my knives, I set it to the side, I wrote a letter up on my computer and set it there on the desk top,” Marino told Mutual Rescue.
Before doing that, he decided to go outside and have one last cigarette. Little this man knew that an encounter that followed would change his life forever. Namely, as he smoked what was supposed to be his last smoke, he heard meowing coming from a bush. “This little black and white kitten was walking out of the bushes. He just walked up and started rubbing up against my leg and let me pet him.”
This was a turning point at how Marino saw his life.
And I stopped thinking about all my problems and I started thinking about all of his problems, what I could do to help him,” he said.
Marino couldn’t leave the cat alone, so he returned in the days to come to bring him some water and some food, usually cans of tuna.
“This cat gave me something to look forward to everyday. He didn’t see anything wrong with me, he didn’t see any sort of flaws or imperfections. It felt safe.”
A couple of days passed by, and these two became very good friends. But then, something terrible happened. The cat was nowhere to be seen after Marino went to feed him one day. He was devastated. This girl, Becky, whom Marino started dating in the meantime, suggested that they go to an adoption event so that he can find a cat.
To everyone’s surprise, the cat that saved Marino’s life was there, waiting to be taken home by someone special. This time, he knew he couldn’t risk losing his pal again so he filled adoption papers right away.
The cat was named Scout and was now part of a huge family. Marino and his girlfriend moved in together and Scout got to hang out with Becky’s three cats.
“That little kitten made me realize that I wasn’t just a sack of damaged goods,” Marino said.
The family was very happy together, but then, they learned that Scout had leukemia. He had undergone blood transfusion treatments which gave them a few weeks to spend together, but he passed away.
Today, although Scout is no longer part of Marino’s life, this man says that he owns it all to the special cat who entered his life unexpectedly and changed it forever. Marino now works as a consultant of disabled veterans at the Department of Veteran Affairs and has earned a Master’s degree in clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling.
Take a look at this touching mutual rescue story in the video below. Grab your tissues, you are going to need them, that’s for sure.