Soldier Adopts Badly Injured Military Dog That Saved His Life
Layka was Julian’s hero – so he wanted to save her life, just like she saved his. Julian regarded Layka as a hero, and he wanted to repay her kindness by saving her life.
Staff Sergeant Julian McDonald had no idea that sending Layka, a trained military dog, into an Afghan building to clear it before he and the troops entered would forever change the course of his life.
While in Afghanistan, McDonald was in charge of Layka, a Belgian Malinois military dog.
On that fateful day in 2013, the sergeant dispatched the dog to search the building, intending to follow behind with the rest of his troops once everything was safe. When the soldiers heard shots fired, they realized the building was not secure.
Four times at point blank range, armed men inside the building killed Layka before turning their sights on the soldiers outside. Despite her injuries, Layka was able to incapacitate her assailant and save the soldiers’ lives.
The dog was put through a seven-hour operation in an attempt to save her life, and the vets were successful, but the procedure left her with only one leg. The fact that she was still breathing was the most important factor.
The dog needed physiotherapy before it could walk and move freely again; however, after treatment, she was ready to attack again.
But then she had another injury that threatened her surviving front leg.
Rebecca Switzer, an Oklahoman who met Layka and her caregiver at an event some time after the incident, shed light on the circumstances.
“It’s a major injury because she just has one leg,” she added at the time. It was bad enough that she was limping around on one leg; now the other one could be in danger as well.
They stated that it wasn’t just about Layka’s physical challenges, but also about the trauma that deployment had left her with, when the Switzers first met her and then returned with more funds when she needed help again.
Many of the soldiers whose lives she saved contributed to a fund set up to treat Layka’s injured paw. The best news is that her trainer actively pursued her adoption.
Despite warnings from loved ones that Layka’s training and past trauma would make her too aggressive to be a family pet, McDonald was adamant about bringing her home.
It’s true that he was able to formally adopt her, and the once-aggressive military canine transformed into the ideal pet.
When McDonald brought her home, the dog immediately laid down and let the soldier’s son, who was only a year old at the time, play on her back. That was completely unexpected.
Sgt. McDonald will be eternally grateful to the dog who saved his life, and he intends to give the retired pooch the peaceful and joyful retirement she deserves.
I owe this puppy every second I have with my family from now on. “I owe her everything,” McDonald told National Geographic.
Watch the video below to find out how well Layka fits into the family of her handler.
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