Soldier adopts dog who saved his life despite warnings about her being ‘scary’

This story happened in 2014, but it is a timeless tale and a beautiful story of how one man fought to give a dog a much-deserved chance to have a forever home.

We’ve heard it all before: we don’t deserve dogs. A dog would not hesitate to save the life of his human, but often, dogs are neglected or left in shelters when humans get tired of them.

A Belgian Malinois dog on a bed

In these challenging times, the number of unwanted dogs is on the rise, and it’s our role as humans to give these dogs a second chance in life. Every dog deserves to have a happy home and a loving family.

Take this story of Layka, an injured U.S. Military dog adopted by her handler, Staff Sgt. Julian McDonald. He took her in despite warnings from other people against bringing home an aggressive dog.

What do we know about the life of military dogs? For the most part, a military dog’s job description can be summarized as “the lifesavers of soldiers.” They can sniff out the enemy even from afar using their strong sense of smell. They are also brave and loyal, and such characteristics make them effective protectors.

A military dog recovering from a gun shot

Military dogs are also trained to detect snipers and explosives and help locate injured soldiers trapped in hard-to-find areas or locations that are not easily visible to the human eyes.

Sadly, despite their fantastic work, military dogs are usually taken to shelters when they reach their retirement age. Worse, they may be put down.

When combat dog Layka was shot at close range four times by the enemy, she sustained life-threatening injuries and lost one leg. She managed to subdue the shooter, saving the lives of many soldiers in the process.

The U.S. Military decided that the brave dog couldn’t go back to work because of her injuries. It was then that her handler, Staff Sgt. Julian McDonald fought incredibly hard to adopt her, going against people telling him not to do so.

“I felt really bad because I was the one who put her in the building. But at the same time, I was relieved that I was still alive. And my buddies to my left and right were also still alive,” McDonald reflected.

A Belgian Malinois dog with a little boy and a man

“She saved my life. That’s why I’m here. I owed it to her, and that’s why I fought so hard to adopt her, even when people were saying ‘she’s too aggressive.'” he added. “They deserve good homes.”

And McDonald was right. As soon as he brought the dog home, Layka immediately approached his then one-year-old son and showed a tender behavior, contrary to what others warned him about.

“She went right over to Liam and submitted and lay on her back. My son got on top of her chest, grabbed her ears, and put his hand in her mouth. And she wasn’t doing anything. She was just laying there and taking every bit of it.” McDonald recalled.

Despite many of her dad’s friends’ disapproval, the brave ex-military Belgian Malinois now lives a happy life with McDonald and his family. She has taken on a new role of a gentle furry protector to his son.

A Belgian Malinois dog and her owner

As he observed Layka’s behavior, McDonald concluded that bringing aggressive dogs into a home environment makes them a product of that environment because “all animals learn to adapt and survive.”

Julian believes that since military dogs have put their time into serving the country, the government owes it to these dogs to give them the care they deserve upon retirement.

If you’re planning to get a dog, you might want to consider adopting one from your local animal shelter. This way, you will be giving a neglected dog a chance to live in a loving home.

Watch the video below to learn more about Layka and Staff Sgt. Julian McDonald’s beautiful story.

Please share this story with your friends and family.

1 thought on “Soldier adopts dog who saved his life despite warnings about her being ‘scary’”

  1. A wonderful story. Staff Sgt. Mc Donald makes a point too often ignored by our military and our elected members of Congress. Over the decades, these brave dogs have saved thousands of lives. They deserve to be retired with dignity, just as our men and women in uniform do.

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