Bob Grubbs- Lifelong Customer, Vietnam Veteran and Service Dog Advocate

Bob Grubbs is a lifelong customer of Rath Auto Resources (and formerly our dealership known as Putnam Lincoln Mercury). A few years ago while shopping at the Pinnacle Hills Promenade with his wife, Bob noticed an event held by  Soldiers on Service Dogs at the mall. A day that changed his life forever. 

Soldier on Service Dogs

Taking it back a few years, Bob served in the Vietnam War and was also deployed to Berlin during the Cold War. During Vietnam, Bob suffered a severe injury that resulted in a broken back and was also exposed to Agent Orange. After returning from the war and being discharged from active duty, Bob began seeking assistance from the VA which had lost his medical records and was unable to prove his injuries. Not being one to complain, Bob carried on obtaining his Masters Degree in Geology from the University of Arkansas and began a career working as a professor and with various oil industries.

It wasn't just Vietnam that provided Bob with lasting injuries, he also fell while working on an oil rig a few years ago. This injury was one that put him out of commission indefinitely. As a person who spent a life eager to work, this was a difficult sentence for Bob. Not only did he suffer physically,  but it was a mental and emotional obstacle being home alone without a job, he became depressed.

It wasn't until about two years ago that Bob was able to admit he had been living a life with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)- even before the more recent fall. This is a mental illness that affects a vast majority of our service men and women on a daily basis as a result of traumatic experiences faced while at war. Thanks to a Northwest Arkansas based service known as Soldiers on Service Dogs, people like Bob are able to find a specific match with a dog that best meets their needs. 

Soldier on Service Dogs in non-profit that provides the local community veterans who suffer from PTSD or TBI (traumatic brain injury) with a paired service dog. The average cost of a trained service dogs is about $25,000, but Soldier on Service Dogs provides these trained therapy companions at no cost. It is currently estimated that over 2,500 veterans in the Northwest Arkansas area are currently in need of a service dog. Bob Grubbs was the first veteran in the Fort Smith region to receive a a service dog from the non-profit. 

There is no predictability on how long it may take someone  to find the right dog. Some dogs are and humans are paired quickly while others may easily take up to a year or two waiting on the right match. Bob specifically needed a dog to help with his PTSD, insulin changes due to diabetes and physical disabilities due to back injuries that can often cause him to fall. Bob was originally paired with a smaller breed but was soon re-paired with his dog Scout, a young German Shepherd. When Bob starts to fall or lean too much in one direction, Scout senses the weight shift and pulls him in the opposite direction to keep him upright. 

SOLIDER ON SERVICE DOGS ARKASNAS
“I don’t feel like I’m dragging my feet throughout life anymore. I have purpose. This program has just helped me tremendously. I adopted him from a shelter so I feel like I saved him, but after having this program and feeling the connection that I have with him, he definitely saved me.”

It was a bit of an adjustment for everyone involved, including the two small dogs already living at home. Bob continues to drive to Fayetteville, Arkansas twice a week for training. Scout currently knows about 80 different commands ranging from the basics to opening doors and bringing him his cell phone. 

Bob has since dedicated his life to pursuing an effort to bring awareness to the value and need of service dogs to other veterans like himself. He has been a guest speaker at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith, other local colleges and continues to speak on the topic.  If you would like to help Bob with his expenses, please consider donating to his campaign here: https://www.gofundme.com/6u56cyrk

Bob and Scout are two best buddies. Scout loves his Lincoln that is most often referred to as the "Scout Mobile," by friends and family!

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Soldier on Service Dogs Northwest Arkansas