Slow down—you’re on Buena-time.
The Marines taught him to be ready. His dog taught him to relax.
At 19, Scott Finn struggled in college. Unsure of his purpose, he felt bad “wasting” his dad’s tuition money when two younger siblings would soon need it.
“I realized—I’ve got to do something on my own, so I went to a recruiter,” he says. “I’d heard the Marine Corps was tough, so why not?”
Scott served five years, spending two tours in Iraq, where every convoy became a potential enemy target. He never let down his guard, constantly scanning his surroundings for threats. But despite the danger, Scott thrived under the Marine’s strict structure, tight-knit camaraderie, and “get-it-done” mentality.
But when he left the Marines, the Marines never left him. Scott returned to college, earned a degree in education, and became a fifth-grade math and science teacher—yet struggled to adapt to civilian life. His inner war zone trapped him in constant, adrenaline-fueled high alert.
Doctors diagnosed Scott with post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, which propelled his exceptional performance in the classroom—but not without a cost. After school, Scott only wanted to stay home. Crowds and family functions triggered even more stress.
His wife, Courtney, suggested a service dog. He applied, and soon afterward, the calming, belly-rub-loving Buena joined the Finn family and changed everything. This mellow pup has taught Scott to live on Buena-time.
Buena is more than just a service dog to Scott. She is a constant companion and best friend with an extraordinary ability to sense when he feels overwhelmed. She helps him relax and eases him into social situations where he and Courtney connect with friends and family.
“People say, ‘Oh my god, look at the way she looks at you,’” Scott says. “And I feel the joy she gives me just by looking at me.”
Courtney sees a big difference, too. “Buena comforts him,” she says. “She puts her chin or paw on his knee or jumps on his lap to hug him—like, ‘Hey, you’re having a moment, even when you don’t realize it.’ Scott’s constantly on the go, and Buena’s like, ‘Whoa, take a minute, breathe, walk slower.’”
Buena loves school, where the fifth graders treat her and their favorite teacher with admiration, love, and respect—cheering them on with Scott’s new title: Southern Oak Elementary School Teacher of the Year. During his deployment, Scott became a hero for our country—and now, he’s a hero for the next generation. A+, Scott and Buena!