BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - When Jeremy Milwood sleeps, his mind takes him back to the battlefields of Iraq where back in 2005 he served as an Army combat medic. He witnessed gruesome deaths of soldiers, civilians, and children.
More than a decade later, Jeremy's PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) leads to horrifying nightmares several times a night. He wakes up in a heightened, combat ready state. He can't go back to sleep. He checks doors and windows to be sure he's safe. "I sit up in bed in the dark for two to three hours before I can get back to bed," Jeremy says.
But now Jeremy has Daisy, a service dog specially trained to wake him up if she sees him twitching in bed. If Daisy senses he is anxious, she simply licks his hand or face waking him up before the nightmare takes him to a deep mental trauma.
Jeremy says Daisy has changed his life, not only allowing him to sleep in peace but also to socialize in crowds without worrying. He explains that in Iraq his combat buddies were always there to watch his back.
"When you get back, you don't have that unconditional camaraderie but a dog, it's always there; unconditional she's always there for me," said Milwood.
Jeremy is now able to spend more quality time with his five-year-old daughter, Emma, who loves Daisy as much as he does. Daisy is his constant companion at home and work. "She's a lifesaver to me. If I didn't have her, things would be different for me. I wouldn't be living here today," he says.
When asked if he means he would have taken his own life, Jeremy responds, "Yes ma'am. I just didn't know where to go. I didn't know what else to try. I tried all the medicines they'd throw at me. If she wasn't here, yes ma'am, she saved my life, I wouldn't be here. She saves my life every single night."
Jeremy Milwood is now a spokesperson for Service Dogs Alabama, the non-profit organization that provided him with Daisy.
For more information, click here to visit their website. You can watch Jeremy's full interview at the top of this story.