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Sharing Retirement: A Service Dog and his Vet

Leslie Tander

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A soldier’s life is difficult, far from home with high demands, little sleep, and life-or-death stresses. But for two who were enlisted in the service together, this trying time became one of lasting peace.

Separated from Family

Just after his first daughter Chloe was born, Adam Wylie (a U.S. Air Force Sargeant) was deployed overseas to South Korea. It was a trying time for him. But one of the first comrades-in-arms he met on Osan Air Base helped him get through it – Emra, a 4-year old service dog. The Belgian Malinois helped him patrol the base in long 12-hour shifts.

Emra and Adam built a deep relationship, trusting each other with life and limb over those long shifts. Together, they processed security sweeps for U.S. officials and manned listening posts designed to spot enemy activity to the north. Adam likes to tell the story of Emra’s encounter with Vice President Joe Biden when he visited the base. She cleared the motorcade, then jumped into the front seat of the Vice President’s vehicle and kept accidently hitting the car horn. 

Events like that helped bring some much-needed levity and companionship to Adam’s life in a trying time. Emra became a friend, keeping him company in the absence of his wife and daughter. But when his shift ended and he returned home to the U.S., he had to leave Emra behind. 

Something Missing

Overjoyed to be reunited with his family, he still found himself feeling Emra’s absence keenly. “She was one of the longest working relationships I had,” Wiley told ABC news.

Emra and Wylie were both ready to retire from service at about the same time, three years after Adam Wylie returned from his deployment in Korea. Wylie planned to become a Security Specialist/K-9 handler for the U.S. State Department. Emra was beginning to feel her age and show some signs of arthritis, so the military made the decision that it was time to retire her.

American Humane is an organization that works to cover the cost and activities needed to bring retired service dogs home to the United States, in partnership with Crown Media Family Networks. American Humane worked to bring Emra home – and they just where her forever home should be.

Reunited Stateside

In April of 2017, the two were reunited. Adam was worried that Emra might not remember him – though they worked together longer than any other partner he had in the military, after a three year separation they’d been apart longer than they’d been together. 

But Emra was overjoyed to see him, obviously remembering her old friend. She nuzzled right up and licked his face, knowing her battle buddy immediately. 

A Forever Home

The Wylie family farm will be Emra’s home for the rest of her days. She has 4-year-old Chloe to play with and Wylie’s dad’s Jack Russell Terrier to keep her on her toes. 

The partnership bond seen in K-9 units can be powerful. The long hours, intense training in each other’s company, and the unique circumstances in which soldiers find themselves separated from friends and family and seeking new connection seems to result in a powerful bond between service dogs and their handlers. What a fitting end that for Emra and Adam, such a bond can be lasting. This unique friendship can support Adam during the transition to civilian life, and give Emra a loving home for the rest of her days. A fitting reward for a lifetime of loyal service – for both man and dog.

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Animals

Breeder names puppies of new litter after 9/11 canine heroes

Leslie Tander

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Every year on September 11, people across the country take time to remember those who lost their lives on that fateful day and one dog breeder in Michigan is honoring some of the heroes in their own special way.

Eight new Labrador Retriever puppies were born in a single litter beginning late Monday night into to Tuesday on September 11, 2018, in Dryden, located in Lapeer County. To pay tribute to the heroes of the tragedies that happened that day in 2001, the owners at Tall Pine Labradors LLC made the decision to name each dog after one of the canine heroes from that time.

Salty was a guide dog who led his owner to safety from the 71st floor of the North Tower in New York City on 9/11 so the breeders gave the firstborn puppy, born at 7:50 p.m. Monday evening, his namesake.

At 8:43 p.m., the second dog of the litter made his appearance into the world and was named Jake in honor of a search and rescue dog who worked hard for 17 days to locate victims of the 9/11 attack on our country’s citizens. The 9/11 Jake went onto train other search and rescue dogs after his time at Ground Zero at his home in Utah before going to work as a therapy dog with burn victims and patients in nursing facilities.

Sirius was born at 9:30 p.m. on September 10 and was named after a K-9 officer with the Port Authority Police Department. His handler was Officer Lt. David Lim who was hospitalized with injuries after being in the North Tower when it collapsed. Sirius did not survive the attack as he was locked in his crate that was housed in the South Tower’s basement while Officer Lim went to investigate. Sirius’ remains were recovered in the winter of 2002.

Thunder made his bang of an appearance into the world at 11:40 p.m. Monday, just twenty minutes before it was officially the anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. He bears the name of a search and rescue dog from the state of Washington who had assisted in searching through the rubble of Ground Zero.

Trakr was the last dog of the litter that was born on September 10. The little puppy was given the name Trakr after a German Shepherd who partnered with a Canadian police officer and found the last survivor 27 hours after the South Tower came down. In April 2009, five clones of Trackr were born.

The first puppy of the litter actually born on September 11 is Apollo, who made his appearance at 12:13 a.m. Named Apollo in honor of an NYPD K-9 Officer who happens to have been the first search and rescue dog to arrive at the World Trade Center within 15 minutes of the towers coming down. Not letting anything stop him, the original Apollo’s fur caught fire at one point during his search efforts but after his but his handler put out the flames Apollo got right back to work.

Riley made his arrival at 1:14 a.m. on September 11 and is named after a Golden Retriever who was trained in a special basket to search over canyons. Riley ended up finding the bodies of several firefighters on the scene.

The only female puppy of the entire litter, Roselle was born at 1:26 a.m. on September 11 and is named in honor of a guide dog who had led her owner down 78 floors in the North Tower. She then led her owner to safety at the entrance of a subway where she then proceeded to bring comfort to another woman blinded by dust and debris.

The staff at Tall Pine Labs is referring to the brand-new litter of eight as the “9/11 Never Forget Litter,” and is considered one of the most inspiring dog-tributes to 9/11 that is known.

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Animals

A Reporter Becomes the Story, Saving a Dog in a Hurricane

Leslie Tander

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Reports see a lot of things and have to remain objective to get the story. It’s part of the job. However, once in a while, humanity is still stronger, even that professional training. That was the case for Julie Wilson one winter when she was in the thick of it in the Carolinas, smack in the middle of a hurricane. The job was tough and the elements even harder’ reporting from the middle of a hurricane’s aftermath is no cup of joy for anyone, even the type who like to brave nature on a regular basis. But the story is the goal and target.

Julie was busy doing her rounds, looking for examples of the human story to film and report on with five to fifteen second snippets of video for her station, WTVD ABC 11. Hurricane Florence was hammering the Carolinas that January 2017, and Julie was one of the few reporters out there catching the scene first-hand. Livestreaming the hurricane damage and the personal stories occurring as they were happening, she found herself talking to a woman going by the name Tasha while looking for the next topic to film or report on.

Tasha was asking anyone nearby for help. She was desperate and the anxiety was painted across the woman’s face. A rottweiler was injured and about to be buried by the knee-high floodwater swirling into the area and rising quickly. But the dog mattered more than Tasha’s own safety; the Rottweiler was a therapy dog for Tasha’s daughter, and as far as the woman was concerned essential to save.

Julie kept working on her reporting as events kept happening around her, and Tasha moved on trying to figure out a way to get the dog out of her house. The neighbors had no such distractions, they were all scrambling to get into rescue boats and get out of the area as quickly as possible. Julie was working with the scene and reporting in the camera, using the panic to show that sticking around when told to get out was a bad idea, even for the brave. Her reporting emphasized viewers to listen to warnings when told to get out of the way of the flooding.

However, things changed when Julie saw Tasha struggling to get her dog to safety. Something fundamental kicked in, and the reporter forgot why she was in the scene of the hurricane professionally. The world suddenly slowed down and became just that moment – someone needed help and Julie had to make a decision whether to get involved or not. She chose to get involved.

Julie stopped reporting and moved to help Tasha with the dog. She got into the water and started wading towards Tasha and her Rottweiler. Both were in a serious situation; Tasha and the dog were both struggling to keep above the waterline and maintain an ability to breathe, but the rising water wasn’t helping at all. And in the panic, there was a good chance both of them were going to drown struggling to survive. Julie got to them both and took the weight of the dog off of Tasha. Being able to now just focus on herself, Tasha got to safety. Julie carried the dog, exhausted and not struggling one bit, to a safe point where they could both stand in the water and not go under. The dog calmly stood until moved, just trying to catch its second wind again.

And Julie’s entire moment was caught on film, from the beginning of her reporting to her engagement into the help and the conclusion, showing Tasha and the dog safe and feeling a lot better about themselves. As for Julie, she did okay was well, wading out of the water with a big smile herself about a day in reporting she wasn’t going to forget anytime soon.

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Animals

Giant Hive is Discovered when Bee Whispherer Removes Bricks from Client’s Home

Leslie Tander

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Anyone who has paid attention to the news recently has likely seen the news that the honeybee populations are in some degree of danger. Because bees are responsible for the health of countless plant species all over the world, it is critical to take steps to protect them. That is what makes bee whisperers so important. For those who might not know, bee whisperers are professional honeybee rescuers that are located throughout the country. Recently, a heartwarming story was published from the Southeastern United States.

This story concerns a professional bee whisperer who has a tremendous amount of experience safely relocating bees and hives to other locations. While bees are critically important to the overall ecosystem, most people do not want them around their homes or places of business. This bee whisperer is responsible for moving bees into empty hive boxes of local beekeepers who might have lost some important bee colonies. 

This professional bee whisperer feels like he is saving supper every time he rescues a hive from a home. Too often, when people find a bee colony, the first thing they do is call a pest control company. While this might get rid of the problem, it will also destroy the entire colony. This is one of the main reasons why bee colonies everywhere are having issues. As bees continue to die, the issues are only going to get bigger. This story is an example of how someone should handle beehives in a proper manner.

Everyone once in a while, this bee whisperer receives a call from a homeowner who has a problem that is daunting, even for him. In this case, the bees were located high off the ground and behind a brick wall that is nearly impossible to get to. Removing bricks can lead to serious issues, including damaging the beehive itself. Even though this professional bee whisperer was a little bit hesitant to remove the bricks from the home, the final view was quite impressive. This story took place in TN.

When he started to remove the bricks from the house, the final view was unbelievable. There was an enormous hive behind the wall! This professional bee whisperer was only called when the local pest control service was unable to remove the hive. Furthermore, this service even tried to kill the entire hive! Fortunately, it failed. This meant that the bees were tended to by a trained professional who could safely move the bees without harming them.

The bees got into the bricks through a deep hole that was between the bricks at the bottom of the home. They also got in between a gap located near the windows. Over time, the hive gradually grew into the enormous hive the bee whisperer saw when he arrived. Fortunately, he was able to remove and relocate the bees themselves without harming them in the process. This means that the bees can still contribute to the health of the environment, which is certainly needed. This is just another example of the professional bee whisperer doing his job.

This story is a heartwarming example of how people can come together to remove a problem that might be impact the personal residence without harming the animals in the process. It is important for everyone to keep in mind that every animal has a role to play in the environment. By calling the professionals to deal with the issue, these animals still have a chance to make a difference. Rely on someone who has experience dealing with bees when it comes to hives.

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