Santo is a disabled, retired bomb-sniffing dog recently discharged from the Army and barely able to use his hind legs. His handler and now owner is a three-tour combat veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who, in spite of being recently discharged and currently unemployed, adopted the military working dog (MWD) when he learned that he was going to be killed.
Koady, his then-handler and now owner, knows that Santo’s keen nose saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers – including his own.
Santo’s problems starting during his tour in Afghanistan. He was eventually returned to the states and underwent disc surgery at Lackland Air Force Base in the late spring. However, he never recovered the full use of his hind legs, which have suffered tremendous muscle loss and are in danger of atrophy. When he was adopted just weeks ago he had sores on his lower legs and paws because he drags his feet, in spite of wearing booties.
Determined to help restore mobility to the dog who saved his life, Koady recently took Santo to a local veterinarian near Houston, Texas. Although a wheelchair seems an all but certain outcome for Santo, the veterinarian believes that laser therapy treatments could help restore some of the dog’s hind leg functionality. However, the dog’s case is complicated. The veterinarian suspects the onset of neuropathy, a genetic disorder, but until this canine hero undergoes laser therapy it will be difficult to rule out this possible diagnosis. We suspect he might benefit from aquatic therapy as well, but this is not a service available through his local veterinarian.
Santo is only five years-old and deserves to live a full, productive life as a retired MWD. And like many young returning war veterans, Koady is not yet gainfully employed and is unable to pay for the care that his brother-in-arms will need. Both have served our country honorably, and they need our help.
We would like to add that Santo received excellent care at Lackland AFB; they rehabilitated a dog that no one thought would pull through and brought him to a state where he could be adopted by a loving family. Everyone at Pets for Patriots is grateful for the dedication and outstanding care from the Lackland veterinary team. They deserve our gratitude for giving Santo a second chance at life.
How to help Santo
- Veterinarians in the Houston area who would like to donate services to Santo, please contact the family directly: helpsanto [at] gmail [dot] com
- Support our work in raising awareness for retired military working dogs like Santo, as well as fund our core mission of connecting last-chance shelter pets with veterans and service members. Your gift is tax-deductible and we will make a contribution towards Santo’s care.
- Contribute to the dog’s care through the family’s PayPal account. Please note that your contribution is not tax-deductible and that you are giving money to a private individual at your own risk.