E-4 Tommanee “Red” McKinney served in the Air Force during the Gulf War. She was a job database manager and analyst for in-flight refueling. Many women have a difficult time as a female in the military and it was no different for Tommanee. During active duty, she suffered physical injuries that contributed to dysthymia, persistent complex PTSD, and major depression.
Tommanee found Pets for Vets through our website and asked for a companion dog because her previous therapy dog was incorrectly taken and adopted out by the humane society. She said, “I am looking for a companion dog, and I need it. My heart is broken. I am in Cedar City, UT. I am 70% service connected for depression and PTSD. I have a script for a companion animal from my shrink. All I can assure you is that the animal will be well loved in the time it is with me. I am a firm believer that dogs are God’s only perfect creature. They love you unconditionally. I also believe that we don’t own our dogs, we are their custodians. It is our job to give them the best life we can while we are lucky enough to know them.”
Scarlett was selected to be Tommanee’s companion dog. She was picked up by the Baldwin Park shelter as a stray. Nobody saw the potential in Scarlett; she languished in the shelter and her time was almost up. When the Pets for Vets trainer, Clarissa, met this charismatic dog, she knew she would be a great fit for Red. She was adopted and placed with the Pets for Vets program by Stephanie of Animal Advocates Alliance. After being treated for Giardia and given lots of TLC, she was trained in basic obedience and to be a companion therapy dog for Tommanee.
Scarlett was driven to Utah by Stephanie and Clarissa and personally delivered to Tommanee to ensure that these two would be a perfect fit and be off to a great start. The first thing Red wanted to do with her new dog was give her kisses. Scarlett obliged and smothered her face with wet ones.
Scarlett’s outgoing and playful attitude will help Tomanee through some of the issues she faces in daily life. Red will no longer be alone, she will benefit from the unconditional love and emotional support a companion pet can offer. Scarlett will be a great emotional outlet and help with the stress of university life. In return, Tommanee will learn to become more affectionate, happier, healthier and emotionally stable. She says “When you are those things, you can deal with PTSD and depression in a more constructive way. Thank you Pets for Vets for providing this extensive form of therapy for me.”