When Daniel “FragArtist” returned from Afghanistan and separated from the U.S. Army after an eight-year enlistment, he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The emotional toll was heavy as he stressed over the loss of his brothers while serving overseas and others to suicide. He tried seeking help through therapy, but even that did not work. To make matters worse, Daniel was battling anxiety, depression, and a failing marriage.
Regardless, though, he pressed on. He mustered enough determination to apply and was hired as a local police officer. After graduating from the police academy, he went on patrol, but adversity struck again. He found out that the Chief of Police was corrupt and eventually landed in jail due to his malfeasance and as a result, Daniel resigned.
Unfortunately, Daniel and his wife separated and eventually divorced. Daniel then started looking for another job in hopes of starting anew. The job search ran afoul and nothing came through. With the possibility of losing his home, he hit rock bottom. “I was ready to end it all, the pain and shame was just unbearable,” Daniel wrote from his Facebook page describing the trials and tribulations he has been through.
Regardless of the conflicts, Daniel still had a lot left in the tank and with the help of a close friend, he received training and got his personal training certificate. Working out in the gym became a passion and it was a perfect outlet for his PTSD, but he wanted more.
He eventually reached out to a local K9 shelter and adopted a puppy. Through the help of Kelly, who owns Nordhausen Elite K9, where he adopted the puppy, he was able to train and certify his new service dog Geronimo. Nimo for short, Geronimo is a pure breed German Shepard and specializes in “Tactile Stimulation”. In other words, when Daniel’s demons try to come back, Nimo takes charge and makes him pay attention to her. “She saved my life 4 years ago. When I was the absolute lowest point in my life. She had helped me over the years by waking me from night terrors,” Daniel said in a recent interview via Discord. “Without Geronimo I wouldn’t be here today,” he continued.
Daniel’s experience has a well-deserved happy ending, as he was able to manage his issues and got the help he needed when he needed it. He is now focused on his current mission of giving back to the same community that blessed him with Nimo. In his spare time, he broadcasts video games on the video streaming platform Twitch and raises money for Veterans in need. “After seeing first-hand how much Geronimo helped me get my life back, I wanted to do the same for others,” Daniel said from his Facebook page. “Through Kelly's selflessness and the help of my service dog Geronimo, I was finally able to take control of my life again. Without Geronimo I wouldn’t be here today.”
You can connect with FragArtist here: FragArtist LinkTree
All photos used are with permission from Daniel "FragArtist".