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How One Dog Rescued His Veteran Owner and Changed His Life

Mackenzie Freeman

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After experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like a natural disaster, car accident, or combat, many people can have PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. Dan Lasko is one of those people.

Dan was deployed to Afghanistan in 2004 with Operation Enduring Freedom. While there, he was hit with an explosion that caused him to lose his left leg, which had to be amputated. He was honorably discharged and was able to go back home to his loving wife and children, but he wasn’t the same. He was afraid to leave the house, be around large crowds, and was always looking over his shoulder because he was afraid. He was suffering from PTSD, like many veterans do after coming home from war. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, of the veterans that served during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, 11-20% have PTSD. In the U.S. alone, over 8 million adults have PTSD in a given year. That’s a lot of people.

To help battle this mental illness, Dan got Wally, a black Labrador, with the help of America’s Vet Dogs. Vet Dogs is a New York charity that helps provide service dogs to veterans and first responders who have PTSD, seizures, physical injuries, and hearing and vision loss. Service dogs are specially trained to help its owner cope with day to day activities. For those suffering from PTSD, their service dogs are trained to patrol the perimeter of the room to help the vet feel safe when they enter, turn on lights to stop a nightmare, and blocking a person that may be coming too close to the veteran.

Studies have shown that interactions with dogs increase the stress-reducing hormone, oxytocin. An increase in oxytocin levels can help counteract feelings of paranoia, can improve trust, and can positively affect social skills. Dogs naturally create a nurturing response in people, and as a result, veterans with PTSD can begin to reconnect with people, when before they may have shut them out.

After having Wally in his life, Dan has said he has been able to heal and learned a lot. Wally taught him patience, loyalty, and how to be himself again. He no longer felt like he had to look over his shoulder wherever he went, and he was able to begin enjoying things that mattered to him with his family and friends.

Wally gave him a second chance, and he and his family decided to give a second chance and a loving home to Maggie, a rescue dog. Dan said that Wally took care of him when he needed it, so he wanted to return the favor. Maggie had a hard life and so did he. With the help of Wally, they could provide Maggie the same support he received and could be one big happy family.

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Animals

These Incredible Hybrid Dog Breeds Will Have You Ready To Adopt!

Lea Lomas

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If you are considering adding a new pet to your family, you have quite a few options available to you! While some families like purebred pups, and who can blame them, there are so many other breeds to consider. Today, we are going to introduce you to several fascinating hybrid breeds that make great family pets. By the end of our discussion today, you’ll be ready to adopt them all!

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Animals

Owner Returns from 6 Months Overseas to the Delight of Adorable Dog

Sherry Rucherman

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Many people have seen the heartwarming videos that get posted of soldiers returning from a tour of duty overseas to the delight of their loving children. These videos are enough to bring tears to the eyes of nearly everyone. In addition to these fantastic videos, the same principle is true with pets as well. Recently, a video was published showing that dogs truly are a man’s best friend. A video was posted recently of a young lieutenant who has stationed overseas in South Korea. When he left, he left behind his wife as well as their young dog. One of this young soldier’s biggest fears was that when he returned, his dog would not remember him. Even though people love their dogs and their dogs are obviously happy to see them, it can be a challenge to get inside the mind of a dog.

This is why this young soldier made time in his busy military schedule to connect with his dog. When the young soldier would FaceTime his wife, he made sure that his dog was around as well. The dog clearly recognized his face and his voice when the dog ran over to the phone. This provided for some heartwarming moments during what was surely a stressful time overseas.

Recently, the young soldier returned home to his family located in Austin, TX. His heart was pounding as he stepped off the plane and rejoined his family. Of course, his wife was waiting with open arms and was excited to see him. Fortunately, there was someone else who was waiting to see him as well. When he started talking, his dog heard his voice. The dog leaped out from around the corner and clearly could not contain his excitement at his owner returning home from more than six months overseas. 

He could be seen jumping up and down because he was so excited to greet this young soldier as he returned home. IN fact, the young soldier ended up being tackled to the floor. The dog spun around in circles. He kept barking. His tail was wagging back and forth as quickly as it possibly could. It was obvious this dog could not believe that his owner had come home. Clearly, they are best friends. Even though the young soldier was unsure of whether or not his dog would remember him, the wife stated that she never had any doubt. It was obvious the dog recognized his owner during the FaceTime videos. Therefore, he would recognize him in-person again as well.

This story serves to highlight the connection that truly exists between dogs and people. Many people think that dogs are just animals; however, there is a true connection there. The love that dogs provide is unconditional. They are very smart creatures with great hearing and a strong sense of smell. They are able to connect with people instantly and do not forget people just because they go away for a few months at a time. The way this dog responded to his owner when he returned home from overseas is evidence of that.

Perhaps this is why people say dogs are a man’s best friend. Perhaps this is why people get so upset when a dog gets hurt, sick, or passes away. People view dogs as members of their family. It was clear that the dog was every bit as excited to see this young soldier return home from his tour of duty as his wife was. It is moments like these that make people appreciate dogs even more.

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Animals

Jack- the One-Eyed K-9 Dog for a Day

Mackenzie Freeman

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A 14-year-old unique Parson Russel Terrier named Jack has captured the heart of people everywhere after his story became known online. The one-eyed dog was able to enjoy what may be his final months doing something he always wanted. Jack got to check off another item off of his bucket list, and it was all due to the big hearts and caring hands of the Wilmington Police Department in North Carolina.

A few months ago, Jack, who is showing visible signs of his advanced age, was diagnosed with aggressive cancer in his jaw. Due to his advanced age, the location of the cancer, and the aggressiveness of the disease, surgery or other treatments were not an option. Jeremy Miller and his wife, Jack’s owners.

Understandably were very upset by the news and were devastated at the thought of losing their furry friend. Especially Jeremy as he had adopted Jack when the pooch was just a pup at two years of age.  Jack had lived a long and happy life with the Miller family, and his owners wanted to do all that they could to make sure he lived out the rest of his life in comfort and enjoying every day he had with them. So the couple talked and they decided to create a bucket list for the terminally ill Jack.

In an interview with Inside Edition Jeremey said “We decided to celebrate his life rather than be depressed waiting for him to pass away because of all the years of joy and happiness he’s given us. He’s proving that despite looking down this loaded barrel we call cancer that he too can go out happy and positive rather than sad and scared.”

It did not take long for the local Wilmington Police Department to hear of Jack’s story. In no time at all they decided that they wanted to help Jack and his owners celebrate his long and happy life. They were going to grant one of the bucket list wishes: get to be a K-9 officer for the day. Some of the K-9 officers talked about how touched they were by Jack’s story and how much it made them think back and remember the times with their canine companions as well.  When someone pulled up the actual bucket list, they were excited that there was an easy and special way they could help make Jack’s final days special and memorable.

Jeremy often referred to Jack as his best friend and his wife always told her husband that the tiny dog was his “mini-me”. Jack is now gone but his final months and days were filled with fun and adventure and love. He was a fearless dog despite his size. He never backed down from a challenge, even facing cancer at the end of a long well-lived life. His fight and his story and his courage were a testament to his spirit and continue to serve and inspiration for those who are going through difficult times themselves.

Though Jack is gone, Jeremy and his wife continue to rescue dogs and advocate for dogs who are looking for their fur-ever homes.

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