Josemy and K-9 Mila
My name is Josemy Morales or known to some as husband, Papa, Staff Sergeant, Mo or OG. I was born in Colorado at Fort Carson (yes, I’m an Army brat) and moved back to Puerto Rico when I was a child. I spent the rest of my upbringing in Puerto Rico until joining the Army at age 21.
After 19 years in the Army and still going, I have served in multiple deployments and mobilizations (4 Afghanistan, 1 Kuwait and Texas), I have experienced the good and the horrible of humankind. I have been in the presence of so many incredible people and built relationships that have stood the test of time. I have learned that with every hello and friendship built, comes some variation of a goodbye. My biggest loss was one of my mentors and good friend. Someone that I really looked up to, who was one of the toughest SOB’s you would ever meet in your life. Unfortunately, his battle with PTSD took him from us. The part that made it worse for me, was that at that time I was newly diagnosed with PTSD with anxiety. I was lost and alone. I had little to no support. After many visits to the VA I was able to find a Mental Health professional that was able to provide me with the tools I needed to acknowledge my demons, that were like my teammates that have never left my side. To live with them and high five them during the day and tell them NOT TODAY.
After convincing my wife, Kristina (K9 Pax) that she deserved a service dog, I have seen so much improvement in her overall mood and quality of life. We returned home from deployment in September 2021 and the following 8 months were extremely hard for her. Being someone that suffers from PTSD, I felt helpless not being able to fix things for her and I wasn't sure there was anything that could pull her out of the dark hole she had crawled into. And then came Pax. Her confidence and spark for life and adventure has returned. She's back to the fearless feisty woman I married, but better.
My third deployment to Afghanistan was, by far, my worst deployment of all and to this day, I’m still surprised I made it back. Before I left, my friend gave me a token that he got during his rehabilitation that said “un dia a la vez” (one day at a time). After losing him, that motto has been the soundtrack of my life. It doesn’t matter how many panic attacks I go through, how many nights of uncontrollable crying while drinking beer to minimize the guilt and pain, how many silent nights by myself in the house (which is the worst for me) and how many fake smiles I force because I am completely mentally/emotionally drained... It doesn’t matter because I’ve found a light at the end of the tunnel. And that’s Mila. I never thought that having a dog like her would change my life. She has made the silent nights enjoyable and more pleasant. It’s kind of poetic how we both chose each other. Thank you to my lovely wife Kristina for being my mirror to show me who I really am. Also, thanks to the lovely Forest Lake family that donated this bundle of joy, I could never thank you enough for that. And a Special THANK YOU to Soldier’s 6, Ed and Dana. Without you, none of this would be possible. I’m excited for this new chapter in my life. The journey to become a better husband, dad, Soldier and friend.