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Tag: wounded

Dog helps wounded warriors in Hawaii

finnA yellow Labrador retriever named Finn is helping injured Marines in Hawaii recuperate from their war wounds.

Pressed into service about a month ago, Finn is stationed at the Wounded Warrior Battalion at the Kane’ohe base. His duty is simple, and not that different from that of any dog — to bring some joy into the lives of the people around him.

Finn is the first service dog to be placed in a barracks in Hawaii, said Susan Luehrs, executive director for Hawaii Fi-Do, a nonprofit group that obtained, trained and donated Finn to the Marines.

The Honolulu Advertiser reports that he brings a sense of calm to the Wounded Warrior barracks, which was designed to aid in the recovery of war-related injuries and illnesses. 

Finn “has contributed significantly,” said Sgt. Karlo Salgado, in charge of the Wounded Warrior barracks. “He’s here more for morale. He’s very consistent with his attitude. As you can see, he’s always playful so he definitely breaks up the monotony here.”

Finn, short for Finnegan, is more of a companion dog, but he has about 80 skills, such as opening doors, that he can use to help those coping with disabilities.

“We’re coming back with a lot more injured young people and they’re saying we’d rather be walking with a dog than a cane,” Luehrs said.

The organization is working with Congress to pass legislation that would pay for training and upkeep. It typically takes two years and costs about $20,000 to train an animal, not including the price to purchase a puppy.

“We’re really proud of him,” Luehrs said. “He had all of his service dog’s skills but because of his personality and socialness, we felt this would be the perfect setting for him.”

(Photo: Honolulu Advertiser/Jeff Widener)

Police dog Bosco fights to walk again

Bosco, a police dog shot twice while on duty in Zanesville, Ohio, is fighting to walk again, and the community is chipping in to help provide his therapy and around-the-clock care.

Bosco and his partner, Officer Mike Schiele, were shot Aug. 23 while Schiele was attempting to serve two warrants on Dominick Conley. Schiele is back home recuperating from his leg wound, but Bosco, who was shot in the neck and chest, remains at the Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital in Columbus.

Bosco has been making progress, according to veterinary school updates. He is beginning to stand on his front legs for a little while, and is working to stand on his hind legs.

Zanesville Police Chief Eric Lambes said the first week of care will probably cost $6,000 to $10,000 and Bosco is expected to remain at the hospital for several weeks, the Lancaster Eagle Gazette reports.

Lambes’ assistant, Linda Highfield, said hundreds of letters a day have poured in, most with checks for Bosco’s care. “It’s just been amazing,” she said. “They don’t stop coming and they’re coming from all over.”

“The story has made our hearts melt,” said Denny Walker, whose car dealership donated $1,200 for Bosco’s care, raising the money in a fundraiser held at Tri-County Chrysler in Heath. “He put his life on the line for his partner, and you just can’t ask for more than that.”

In addition to monetary donations, a former K-9 handler from South Carolina sent a wheelchair that he used for his own dog. “I know how important your dog is to you when you are an officer and that the K-9s are a great asset to any department,” said the donor, Michael Grazioso. “My heart went out to Officer Schiele when I read the story, and I just wanted to do something to help. If Bosco has to have a chair, then he’s got mine.”

Highfield said she has received offers of other dogs for the department in case Bosco is unable to return to work. “Before we even think about accepting another dog, we’re going to see how it goes with Bosco. We’re hoping he’ll be able to make it back.”

Donations so far exceed $5,000, Highfield said.

In addition, MedFlight of Ohio, which transported Bosco to Columbus the night he was shot, decided to forgive 90 percent of the bill. “We have to be responsible to our company, but we also felt that it was very important Bosco get help as quickly as possible that night and this is the right thing to do,” said Todd Bailey, director of the business division for MedFlight.

WWII hero works to bring service dogs to vets

irwin_old_smA World War II veteran who was held for a year in a Nazi prisoner camp has made it his mission to help supply wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with service dogs.

Irwin Stovroff, the subject of a recent Fox News report, has raised nearly $2 million dollars to help train and match up service canines with wounded combat vets.

The 85-year-old resident of Boca Raton, Fla., is also pushing lawmakers for federal funding to finance the program.

“It is a shame.” Stovroff says about the lack of an official federal program that pairs up battle-injured veterans with guide and therapy animals that can greatly improve their rehabilitation. “I wanted to do something about it.”

irwin_young_smallStovroff, the recipient of a Distinguished Flying Cross, was shot down behind enemy German lines on his 35th bombing flight. He threw his dogs tags away before his plane crashed to hide his Jewish faith from his captors.

Stovroff says dogs can help the injured soldiers in a number of ways.

“The dog can become his eyes. He can become his legs. He can bring him anything he needs.” Stovroff said.  “A dog is probably the best thing that can happen to these soldiers … They need a guide (but) they need the help and love of a dog as well.”

(Photos courtesy of Intimesofwar.us)