The Washington Post   , 2018
 
Air Force veteran Adrianna Ruark practices commands with her service dog, Crockett, during a daily training in the K9s for Warriors program in Florida. (Kile Brewer for The Washington Post/For The Washington Post)
 
Adam Fuller credits a simple, one-word command — and a black Lab mix named J.D. — with helping to save his life. 

“Cover,” he tells J.D., who is sitting to his left in a grassy field next to a park playground. The dog calmly walks to Fuller’s right, then sits facing backward. Were someone coming up from behind, he’d wag his tail. The signal quells the sense of threat that plagued Fuller after serving in Afghanistan, that at one point had him futilely popping medications and veering toward suicide.

“Yes!” he praises J.D. as four women watch closely. They, too, are veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder who are here to be trained and to leave with canine support of their own. All seem to appreciate the strategy behind “cover,” as their goateed instructor demonstrates with J.D. “I wouldn’t be here without him,” Fuller says.