HEALING PAWS
Central Florida Health News|March 2021
A Service Canine, A Veteran, and the Journey Back From the Edge
TIM CRAIG

Six years ago, Morgan Watt’s life changed. And it came on four legs..

In January 2015, Watt was matched with Foley, a Goldador service canine that specializes in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder intervention, and his life was never the same.

“Ten years ago, I was dealing with chronic pain, particularly migraines, that would come out of nowhere and feel like they would never go away,” says Watt. “I didn’t know it, but it was PTSD from my time in the Air Force. It got so bad I couldn’t tell the difference between physical pain and psychological pain. I was very suicidal. I felt that way for three years, every day, with a couple of attempts along the way.”

Watt is one of the estimated 12 to 15 percent of veterans who suffer from PTSD, according to the National Center for PTSD. Many, like Watt, suffer for years with undiagnosed symptoms and triggers — undiagnosed because of the stigma that surrounds mental health and the military.

“PTSD, it’s really complex – it’s not just one event, but many traumatic events,” says Watt.

Watt joined the Air Force at 19 and gravitated to the military police, focusing on the Canine Corps. He was trained to work in the explosive detection detail.

“As military police, I dealt with a whole range of issues, from domestic violence to suicide to car deaths,” says Watt.

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