Army Veteran David Campbell., was only 17 years old when he joined the Army in August of 1990. Just one day after he signed up, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and 13 weeks later, Campbell deployed to Kuwait in what has become known as the ‘100 Hours War.’
He was severely wounded in an explosion and was declared dead for five minutes. After spending time recovering in military hospitals, he returned to Kuwait in the Army’s rear detachment. After multiple surgeries, Campbell had his left leg amputated and now gets around with the use of prosthetics.
His physical ailments from the battlefield and the mental scars of war have stayed with him. After his active duty discharge in 1992, he learned he had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
“I managed to build a career in photography, but every few years, I would lose it, quit my job, start drinking and become self-destructive,” said Campbell.
On his 40th birthday, Campbell committed himself that he was not going to be a victim of his circumstances. He was experiencing bouts of deep depression, anxiety, and he had fallen into a self-destructive lifestyle. He had even contemplated suicide.
It was at Soldiers Best Friend that Campbell met Caleb, an Australian Shepherd mix who needed a home. It was an instant match. Together they completed a training program graduating in 2015. The two are inseparable. Campbell takes Caleb with him to different venues to speak to veterans about his experiences and the effects of war.
Campbell helps others cope with the horrors of post-traumatic stress disorder by working with the Mesa Police Department to identify those who are also going through tough times. When a 911 call from a veteran comes in, the 911 operator makes sure that Campbell gets the information so he and Caleb can accompany an officer on the request.
Soldier’s Best Friend is an Arizona based nonprofit that provides U.S. military veterans who have PTSD or Traumatic Brain Injury, with Service or Therapeutic Companion Dogs. Many of these dogs are rescues from local shelters. SBF says they are dedicated to pairing and training service dogs with veterans at no cost. You can learn more about their nonprofit online at https://soldiersbestfriend.org/