INDIANAPOLIS, (WISH) — An Indiana veteran is logging miles on his truck for a mission he is passionate about. Cliff Terry is from Alexandria and a Vietnam War veteran. He served for more than six years as a Green Beret in the Army.
He has many memories from the war that causes him to still have flashbacks and nightmares decades after his time of service. That is why he has his PTSD service dog Tater.
“We’re unbreakable. She just calms me. She brings my attention back to her,” Terry said of the Italian Greyhound.
Terry got Tater a few years ago and she has been by his side ever since.
“I’ve got PTSD pretty bad. I have nightmares still after 44 years. I have flashbacks. I call it freaking out,” he added.
He understands how important service dogs are to veterans like himself. So, he is traveling the country to raise awareness about service dogs and how beneficial they are.
“With Tater it doesn’t happen anymore, she’ll wake me up before the nightmare. If I’m getting ready to have a flashback she tugs on my pants. If I’m getting ready to freak she will physically pull me out of the building.”
From April until Nov. he is visiting as many VA Hospitals and out patients clinics as possible to thank the staff for their help to vets and raise awareness about his cause.
He has already put in more than 6,000 travel miles in Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. He plans to visit every site in Indiana. He will begin again the following year and continue until he visits every one in the U.S.
Terry believes the veteran suicides statistics would change if more of them had access to service dogs.
“I actually believe it would stop a lot of these suicides because how can you kill yourself and leave something like that behind? I mean, I can’t do it. There’s just no way,” he said.
Terry’s goal is to raise $300,000 to help veterans get access to service dogs in instances where the VA will not provide funding. To learn more about his mission, click here.