Leica was Julian’s hero, and he wanted to save her life just as she had saved his.
Leica was a hero to Julian, and he wanted to do what she did for him and save her life.
Staff Sergeant Julian McDonald didn’t know that the moment he sent Lakey, a trained military dog, into a building in Afghanistan to clear it before he and the troops went inside would change the course of his life forever.
While in Afghanistan, McDonald commanded Laika, a military dog of the Belgian Malinois breed.
On that fateful day in 2013, the sergeant sent the dog out to search the building, intending to follow it with the rest of the soldiers when it was safe. However, the soldiers soon learned the building wasn’t safe as they heard gunshots.
Shot four times at point-blank range, the armed men inside the building killed Laike and then turned their sights on the soldiers outside. Despite his wounds, Laika managed to disarm his attacker and save the lives of the soldiers.
The dog underwent seven hours of surgery in an attempt to save her life, and the vets succeeded, but the surgery left her with only one paw. The most important thing, however, was that she was still breathing.
The dog required physical therapy before she could walk and move freely again; however, after treatment, she was ready to attack again.
But then she suffered another injury that threatened her surviving front paw.
Oklahoma resident Rebecca Sweetzer, who met Leika and her caretaker at an event some time after the incident, shed light on the circumstances of what happened.
“It’s a serious injury because she only has one leg,” she added at the time. It’s bad enough that she was waddling on one leg, now the other one might be in danger.”
They said it wasn’t just Leica’s physical problems, but also the trauma her military service left her with when the Sweetsers first began campaigning for her when they first met her and then returned with new funds when she needed help again.
To heal Leica’s injured paw, many of the soldiers whose lives she saved donated to a fund set up for that purpose. The most wonderful news is that her trainer actively pursued her adoption.
MacDonald was determined to bring Leica home, despite warnings from loved ones that her training and past injuries would make her too aggressive for the family pet.
True, he was able to officially adopt her, and the once-aggressive military dog became the perfect pet.
As soon as McDonald brought her home, the dog lay down and let the soldier’s son, who was only a year old at the time, play on her back. No one expected such a turn of events.
Sergeant MacDonald will forever be indebted to the dog who saved his life, and he plans to provide the dog with the peaceful and joyful retirement life he deserves.
From now on, I owe this puppy every second I spend with my family. Who I am today,” MacDonald told National Geographic, “I owe it to her.
Watch the video below to see how well Leica has fit in with her handler’s family.
Feel free to share it with your loved ones.