Layka was Julian’s hero – so he wanted to save her life, just like she saved his.
Layka was a hero to Julian, and he wanted to do what she did for him and save her life.
Staff Sergeant Julian McDonald had no idea that the moment he sent Layka, a trained military dog, into a building in Afghanistan to clear it before he and the troops entered would change the course of his life forever.
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. The soldiers, however, soon learned that the building was not secure as they heard shots fired.
Four times at point blank range, armed men inside the building killed Layka before turning their sights on the soldiers outside. Despite her wounds, Layka managed to incapacitate her assailant and rescue the lives of the soldiers.
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. Yet, the fact that she was still breathing was the most critical thing.
The dog required physiotherapy before it could walk and move freely again; after treatment, however, she was ready to attack once more.
But then she had another injury that threatened her surviving front leg.
Oklahoman Rebecca Switzer, who encountered Layka and her caretaker 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’s bad enough that she was hobbling around on one leg; now the other one might be in danger too.
They stated that it wasn’t just about Layka’s physical challenges, but also the trauma that deployment left her with, when the Switzers initially began a campaign for her when they first met her and then returned with more funds when she needed help again.
In order to treat Layka’s injured paw, many of the soldiers whose lives she saved donated to a fund set up for this purpose. The most excellent news is that her trainer extensively pursued her adoption.
McDonald was set on bringing Layka home despite warnings from loved ones that her training and past trauma would make her too aggressive to be a family pet.
It’s true that he was able to formally adopt her, and the once-aggressive military canine transformed into the ideal pet.
You see, as soon as McDonald got her home, the dog laid down and allowed the soldier’s son, who was only a year old at the time, play on her back. Nobody saw that coming.
Sgt. McDonald will be forever indebted to the dog who saved his life, and he plans to provide the retired pooch with the peaceful and joyful retirement she deserves.
I owe this puppy every second I have with my family from now on. What I am today, McDonald told National Geographic, “I owe her.
Watch the video below to find out how well Layka fits into the family of her handler.
Don’t be shy in sharing this with your loved ones.