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K9s For Warriors - Because Together We Stand

Scott Smith
Sep 14, 2018

MEET JAMES AND DUNKIN
James Rutland is a 12-year Army veteran who served a tour of duty in Iraq in 2004, followed by two more tours in South Korea. He left the military in 2014, suffering from multiple medical conditions related to his service, including mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), sleep apnea, and hearing loss, to name a few.

Most importantly, he suffered from depression and often thought about suicide. Thinking he could do it alone, Rutland tried healing from the trauma on his own. That wasn’t working. “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got,” says Rutland.

In 2016, Rutland finally rounded the bend of recovery when he was paired with his service dog, Dunkin. “I started focusing on "we instead of "me”, says Rutland.

He has a semi-colon tattoo on his right wrist, a known symbol of taking a pause when thinking about suicide. Unlike a “period” which ends a sentence, the semicolon creates a pause, for the reader, then continues the story. Rutland wears it proudly. "It's a great conversation starter," Rutland says.

He goes on to explain that breathing, family, friends, and the program that gave him Dunkin are what keeps him going.

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K9s For Warriors - Because Together We Stand