Well done, soldier.
Here’s a story so out of this world, so unbelievable, you’d swear they could make a movie out of.
He is Josh Marino. United States Military. Brave, tough, loyal, and willing to sacrifice even his life all for country. These brave men and women enlist for duty, knowing well the risks of wearing the uniform. Yes, even the fact that they may not come home. Josh knew this.
He was deployed to Southwest Baghdad, Iraq. Josh experienced a mortar attack no more than ten feet to his right
Josh Marino suffered traumatic brain injury which led to post traumatic stress disorder.
“A lot of us come home without realizing that we’re bringing the war with us.”
Josh describes it as a severe wound that nobody can see, which also made him go through severe anxiety. He went to a dark place as a result and from there it only got worse. He took out a knife, wrote a letter on his computer, then went out the back of the barracks. He lit a cigarette in the rain, saying it was to be his last one.
It was at that moment of darkness that Josh heard a little meow.
A little black and white kitten came out of the bushes, rubbing on his leg and letting Marino pet him. The kitten’s presence touched something in Josh. The man broke down crying. Did the kitten know something was wrong?
Like a true soldier, Josh stopped thinking about all his troubles and focused on how he could help the cat. After this heartfelt encounter, Josh took it upon himself to care for the cat. He would bring the kitten tuna, making sure the animal ate well, to which the grateful kitty would hop up on his lap for cuddles.
Eventually, the two became good friends. Josh would look forward to calling out to his little buddy everyday, and this kitten would always accompany him. Josh felt secure in the kitten’s company, saying that he felt like the creature didn’t care about who or what he was.
One day after work, Josh called out to his furry friend but to his dismay, there was no response.
The realization that the kitten was gone devastated Josh. But life goes on. He started dating Becky, a girl he knew from high school and they hit it off. A few months later, Becky and Josh were walking when they happened to chance upon an adopt-a-thon. As they were walking through the crates, a little black and white paw started smacking Josh in the arm.
It was him!
Josh took the kitten out, held it in his arms, and he knew it would be coming home with him. He signed the paperwork, took his long lost friend home and named him Scout. Beautiful.
Josh spent his days with Scout, and this adorable cat bore witness to Josh and Becky’s wonderful relationship. They moved to Pittsburgh and around a year later, rings and vows were exchanged in a wedding that you can bet Scout was a part of.
Becky has 3 cats herself. This big family got along great and with Scout’s presence, Josh began to better himself. He rode his bike more, stayed in shape and ate healthy. He even quit smoking.
Support networks really work. Especially for battle scarred warriors.
Josh picked himself back up, going back to school and earning a Master’s Degree in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling, finally getting back to working with other veterans who needed the help he did back then. It’s still serving!
One day as he got back home, Josh noticed that Scout wasn’t waiting for him by the door like the cat normally did. He tracked the cat down and noticed that Scout was acting very sluggish. Like any concerned dad, he took the cat to the vet where Scout tested positive for feline leukemia. A transfusion allowed Scout to come home where he got spoiled for 2 weeks.
One night, Scout just could not catch his breath.
They rushed to the vet, Josh in the backseat with his beloved Scout in his arms. Sadly, Scout passed away in his arms before even getting passed the bridge.
“It hurt so much.”
Josh continues, choking back his tears,
“Even before he was my cat, before he even knew me that well, Scout saved my life. He put me on a different path. He gave me the confidence to try to come back from all the adversity that I was feeling.”
It was Scout who changed josh’s life. It was Scout who gave Josh a second chance at a better life, staying by his side, giving him all the love and support the man needed. And every day, Scout is on Josh’s mind and heart, a man forever grateful to have had another shot at life because of this cat.
Press play below for this incredible, tearjerking rescue story.
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