Dogs are not just man’s best friend, they are also lifesavers.
We may know a thing or two about military dogs or war dogs but not the entirety about what their real purpose is. Television shows and the internet are both filled with stories about police dogs, service dogs, cute dogs, and many other catchy stories about dogs. But how many brave stories about military dogs have you heard?
In extreme cases of war, military dogs are nothing but lifesavers of soldiers. Their strong sense of smell can sniff out the enemy even from afar, and this characteristic of them makes them not weapons but protectors.
They are trained to detect snipers and explosives, they are also helpful in locating injured soldiers in areas that are not visible to the human eyes and that are hard to locate.
However, despite all of the amazing work that they do, army dogs can be viewed as aggressive and in some cases, ‘just another object’ instead of a valued member of the team.
When military dogs reach their retirement age, oftentimes, they don’t have a loving and forever home to go to. Worse, they may be put down or be taken to shelters.
So when U.S. military combat dog Layka was shot four times by the enemy at point-blank range, saving the lives of many soldiers in the process, her handler, Staff Sgt. Julian McDonald, fought incredibly hard to adopt her afterward. Despite the criticism of many of Julian’s peers, the brave Belgian Malinois now lives a happy life with the Sargent and his family, and her inspirational story was shared onto YouTube by National Geographic.“On the day Layka got shot in May, instantly I felt the sense of urgency to fix her.” Julian told the camera. “I owe this dog everything from this day here on out, with my son, with my mother, with my family… I owe her everything.”
Despite being badly injured after getting shot, the brave dog still attacked and subdued the shooter, saving the lives of all of the men in Julian’s team.
Truth be told, we doubt that not many humans would do what this brave dog did.
“I felt really bad because I was the one who put her in the building.” Julian reflected. “But at the same time, I was relieved that I was still alive, and my buddies to my left and right were also still alive.”
Source: YouTubeLayka’s injuries were life-changing, and after losing a leg, it was decided that she couldn’t go back to work. Julian was instantly determined that he would adopt her, though it seemed that nobody was supportive of his decision.
“She saved my life, that’s why I’m here. I owed it to her, and that’s why I fought so hard to adopt her, even when people were saying ‘she’s too aggressive.’ They deserve good homes.” Julian said.
Julian’s ready to give Layka her forever home and he’s determined to show people that a retired military dog like her also deserves a forever family and home.
And he’s not mistaken, Layka immediately took to his then one-year-old son, and became his brave but gentle furry guard.
“The first time I brought her home, my son was just over one year old at the time.” Julian said. “She went right over to Liam and submitted and lay on her back. My son got on top of her chest, grabbed her ears and put his hand in her mouth, and she wasn’t doing anything. She was just laying there and taking every bit of it.”
Source: YouTubeLayka has settled wonderfully into family life, though Julian is sure to still take her for some army training every so often to let off some steam.“If you bring them into a home environment then they will become a product of that environment, because all animals learn to adapt and survive.” Julian concluded. He added, “If the dogs put their time into the country, then the government owes it to them to put their time into them.”
Not only retired military dogs are often neglected, but there are also a lot more dogs out there that are overlooked. If you plan to have a dog, you might want to consider getting one at your local animal shelter. Especially, during these hard times, the number of unwanted dogs is on the rise and it’s our role as humans to give these poor dogs a second chance in life.
Make sure to watch Layka and Staff Sgt. Julian McDonald’s beautiful story in the short video below.
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