Loyal Dog Followed His Veteran All The Way To The End
He couldn't take the torment anymore - and this time Honor couldn't help him.
Honor was trained to help Wade Baker wake up from his post-war nightmares, and the Gulf War veteran was tormented by them.
Some of his nightmares involved seeing fellow soldiers shooting stray dogs in Iraq because they were digging up the people they had to bury.
But Baker would wake up to a dog, licking his face, when he was writhing in fear in his sleep.
"He was stopping the nightmare for me," Baker said once, according to a story recently published by the AP.
Honor was trained at Paws & Effect in Des Moines, Iowa, and Baker went to meet him in 2012. Baker was anxious and skeptical that a dog could ever make a difference for him. But then Honor climbed into his lap and yawned sweetly. "And that's when I realized: 'Oh. You're training ME,'" Baker said.
"It was very good for him," Baker's wife Michelle told the Citizen-Times. "Otherwise he would've kept being that hermit. I can honestly say, without Honor, he would not have lasted as long as he did. Honor helped him that much. They were inseparable for four years. Everywhere they were together; they even slept together. It was just fantastic, their relationship."
Even though Honor was seen as a godsend by Baker and his family, some things for Baker were beyond repair. Finally, last August, after a battle with PTSD that had already lasted 25 years, Baker decided suicide was the only way to get the nightmares to truly stop.
Honor, who is a meaningful connection Baker's sons have to their father, continues to live with the family. "After Wade Baker's suicide earlier this year, Paws & Effect gifted his service dog, Honor, to his wife and sons," the organization wrote on Facebook. According to the AP, when his family gets upset, Honor knows, and he does what he was trained to do: He makes the nightmares go away.
But Honor was trained to watch over his man while he was sleeping. So on that hard day in August, when Honor saw Baker lying in the casket, he was determined to keep watch over him. According to the AP, "When he saw his master lying in the flag-draped casket, the Labrador pushed through the clutch of weeping family members, reared up, placed his paws on the edge and tried to climb in. Unable to comfort Baker, he curled up underneath."
Honor made sure Baker slept peacefully.
Read the full AP story here.
People are available to talk, 24 hours a day, at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.