In those thirty hours, he was reminded that God was with him. And during that time, one of the verses that resonated with Cole most was 2 Timothy 1:7:
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
When he came out of the room, he not only had a new perspective but also a new plan.
Cole knew that his symptoms of PTS were not going to disappear overnight, but he didn’t want to continue using methods that proved ineffective. A friend talked with Cole about how much a trained service dog had helped him, and it seemed like the perfect option.
But acquiring a trained service dog wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t cheap.
So using ten thousand dollars of his own money, he acquired a German Shepherd, Kaya, on his own. Through Assistance Dogs International, Kaya was trained to wake Cole up from nightmares and to recognize stress patterns in his voice.
Cole says that within weeks he saw a drastic reduction in nightmares, and Kaya quickly stops his stress from snowballing into attacks of depression and anxiety.
Now a full-time student at Texas A&M University, Cole spends his spare time advocating for his fellow veterans and lobbying for a bill known as the PAWS Act, which stands for Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers Act.
Between ten and eighteen percent of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan experience Post Traumatic Stress, and on average, twenty-two veterans commit suicide a day.
Cole Lyle is part of that percentage. And he almost became a statistic.
But as he and Kaya walk the halls of Congress, it is clear to anyone who crosses their path: There’s hope.
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