In a fine example of the failure of the VA to care for our veterans, an Ohio veteran may end up losing his therapeutic ducks that have helped him cope with depression and the symptoms of PTSD. What’s his big crime? Darin Welker violated his village’s ban on “keeping fowl and other farm animals” in a pen in his yard.
Welker is a disabled U.S. veteran who sustained a major back injury while serving in Iraq. After back surgery, the VA refused to pay for Welker’s physical therapy and counseling. He also suffers from depression and PTSD made worse, no doubt, by the threat of losing his reason to get up each morning–his ducks.
“They’re quite a relaxing animal, and they help comfort me in different situations,” Welker recently told the Tribune as he held one duck like a baby and stroked its neck. “[Watching them] keeps you entertained for hours at a time.”
How is this a failure of the VA? One has to wonder if the VA had fully taken care of this veteran in the first place, would he even be in this stress-filled situation today?
At least Welker was able to obtain “a letter from the VA’s mental health department recommending he be allowed to keep [his ducks].” I mean seriously, that is the very least the VA can do for this veteran.
Photo credit: Trevor Jones