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  • Vicki Topaz, Director
  • Wynn Padula, Director
  • Michael Collins, Producer
  • Vishal Solanki, Producer

Man in folding chair places his tattooed arm around a chocolate lab service dog.

About the Project

BY MY SIDE is an intimate portrait of three veterans suffering from the “invisible wound,” PTSD, the most prevalent and unhealed wound suffered by veterans. Approximately 20% of those who served in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are still haunted by visions, chased by enemies they can never outrun, and tortured by the fear that the enemy is them. The three veterans and their families bravely share their pain, fear, and the difficult realization that they’ve lost time and love that they may never get back again. All three found hope where no one had looked—in the heart of a faithful service dog. Through intimate interviews with the veterans' families and revealing footage of the soldiers bonding with their service animals, the film demonstrates how wo/man’s best friend may be one of the best ways to mitigate the psychic scars imprinted on those who have been in service to our country. [As a note, the film is proving to be valuable to civilians as well that suffer with trauma and are discovering the ways in which the human-animal bond, can mitigate symptoms.]
. This project is made possible, in part, with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Yellow Chair Foundation.