We often hear stories of police and TSA dogs. Less often do we hear stories of the incredible bravery of so many dogs in military operations overseas. All these dogs deserve the attention their actions merit!
The role of military dogs is wide and varied, but one thing is consistent – they often and repeatedly save the lives of the soldiers they work alongside. They sniff out the enemy, bombs, and protect a base from intruders. There isn’t much these dogs CAN’T do!
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.
Sadly, many of these dogs don’t have a place to retire to when they are done with their service. They are often put down or 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 on 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.”
Incredibly, the injured and wounded dog subdued the attacker and saved the lives of every man on Julian’s team.
The act was selfless and something that only the bravest of humans would ever even contemplate.
“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.”
“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 is on a mission to show people that military dogs can live in homes just like other dogs. Layka instantly made friends with his one-year-old son, for example!
“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.”
“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.”
We can all appreciate an amazing story like Layka’s! Make sure you watch the video of her below!
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Source: National Geographic