One day this spring, Army Specialist David Bandrowsky, 27, played Russian roulette with his .38 revolver.
Bandrowsky planned to end his life, which had been at turns unbearable since he returned from a 16-month deployment in Iraq in 2008. He had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, a traumatic brain injury and depression as a result of his combat experience.
Right before he pulled the trigger, his service dog, Benny, jumped up and knocked the gun out of his hand.
“He saved my life,” Bandrowsky said.
Benny was not trained for that scenario, but the 18-month-old Shepard-hound mix has been taught to, among other tasks, push Bandrowsky away from crowds, wake him if he removes a sleep apnea mask at night and nudge him into a petting session if he seems on the verge of a panic attack.