Justin Tucker enlisted in U.S. Army in 2005, following in the footsteps of military service taken by his grandfather and father. On September 26, 2006, while deployed in Iraq, a hand grenade changed Justin’s life forever, leaving him with a traumatic brain injury.
Returning home, the TBI and post-traumatic stress from his service prevented Justin from living a normal life. Large crowds were difficult and venturing out of the house, even for routine errands like visiting the grocery store, became grueling tasks that risked triggering Justin’s PTS.
The Department of Veterans Affairs, sadly, does not provide service dogs for veterans suffering from PTS and turned Justin away. A small puppy, Roxy the Pit Bull, however, offered hope. After going through professional training, Roxy was equipped with the tools to help Justin cope with the symptoms of his PTS and TBI.
Roxy knows to draw Justin’s attention away from potential triggers and to her, where Justin is reminded of her unending love. Roxy goes with Justin everywhere, and enables him to live a life that seemed impossible. According to Justin, “if it wasn’t for [Roxy] showing me that it’s okay to be in society, I probably wouldn’t be here today.”
In 2018, Roxy was honored as our American Humane Service Hero Dog. The search is underway for this year’s top dog and voting on the second round of this year’s applicants just opened. To learn more, and participate in the second round of voting, visit www.HeroDogAwards.org.