VINELAND, New Jersey — New Jersey native Jeremy Piatt came from a military family. His father and grandfather served in the U.S. Navy. So once he graduated high school, he decided to join.
“It’s the least I could do for the country,” he said.
He started with the Navy in 2003 and served four years on active duty. Then, in 2007, he decided to take his talents to the Army, where he served for about five years.
Now a disabled veteran, Piatt struggles with post traumatic stress disorder. And over the last four years, he and his fiancé have been purchasing and raising birds as emotional support animals.
“PTSD is kind of a thorn in a person’s side and I’ve been struggling with work,” Piatt said. “I believe that this is my calling to share my love with animals with other people.”
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Now, Piatt travels throughout the local area visiting senior citizens alongside two ducks that he hatched and raised, named, “Carmel” and “Peepers.”
“It’s therapeutic for them and it’s also therapeutic for me,” he said.
Today, Piatt visited Spring Oak at Vineland, an assisted living facility, with his therapy ducks.
“I like animals and they’re my buddies,” resident Dolores Lombardo said. “I was brought up on a farm.”
Piatt hopes the ducks remind seniors of their youth and bring smiles to their faces.
“Coming into the nursing home, it’s no place for somebody to be depressed. They’re still living their life,” he said. “As long as I’m alive, I’m definitely going to keep on doing this and serving my country.”
To learn more about Jeremy Piatt’s mission, visit his Instagram page, @reducktion.duck.
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