Bethlehem Press

Monday, June 24, 2019

Service dogs outperform the partisan congress

Thursday, January 3, 2019 by The Press in Opinion

National support animals received a big boost from Sully, the loyal service dog for George H.W. Bush. The photo showing Sully resting by the president’s casket during the viewing at the Capitol Rotunda was an unforgettable image.

Sully is back at America’s VetDogs‘ headquarters in Smithtown, New York, the place where his journey started. The Labrador retriever went through boot camp at the facility before completing his basic obedience training through VetDogs’ prison puppy program.

Last week, Sully received a hero’s reception at the center from dozens of his supporters, including government officials who applauded as he entered the event. After his two-month break, Sully will go back to work for military veterans at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Sully’s triumphant return to his roots wasn’t the only feel-good pet story in this year-end holiday season. Officials in Palm Coast, Florida, a city just north of Daytona Beach, reported a story of compassion that they refer to as a Christmas miracle.

It started when Palm Coast Animal Control received a call of a dog injured along Interstate 95. When AC officer Kasey Hagan arrived, the scared female pup fled deep into the woods. Hagan set a dog trap overnight and was relieved to find her in the trap the next morning. Cold and in pain from injuries, she was taken by Animal Control workers to the animal hospital, where she was treated and given rawhide treats to help distract her from the pain.

The pup named Josie was then transferred to the Flagler County Humane Society with the hope that her owners would see her story on a Facebook posting. It was soon determined, however, that Josie needed an orthopedic specialist to repair her broken bones. The humane society received some donations toward treatment, but the pup was in a lot of pain, and since her owners failed to come forward, it was recommended that she be humanely euthanized.

A breakthrough came just minutes before Josie was to be euthanized on Dec. 8. After seeing the Facebook post, Julian and Doris Boyden decided to adopt Josie. That same morning they also made it a Merry Christmas for a cat they adopted and named Freya.

Another heartwarming story emerged about 55 miles south of Palm Coast concerning Linda, a 4-year-old yellow Lab and therapy dog for an Orange County elementary student named Rachel. The two have been inseparable for the last two-and-a-half years, and Rachel considers Linda her best friend and a member of the family.

A teacher at Rachel’s school says Linda is like another student to the class. She loves helping all children and seems to pick up when a child is feeling anxious or nervous.

Linda is even pictured in the school yearbook, and the school also awarded the service animal with her very own faculty badge and a plaque recognizing her service.

Animals such as Sully, Josie and Linda are loyal, serving, nonpartisan and totally focused on following through with the task set before them. If only the self-aggrandizing humans now sitting in congress or in the left-wing media showed some of these basic traits that our four-legged friends have mastered, we’d have less government obstruction, stalemates and shutdowns.

By Jim Zbick | tneditor@tnonline.com