Retired disabled Army dog needs help to walk again

Koady and SantoSanto 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. 

The family filmed this beautiful dog trying desperately to walk:

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
  • 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.


  1. Wonderful news that you have such a loving heart. God will bless

    • GREAT NEWS! Our member, Demar Jackson, told his mother Shelley about Santos after we shared this story on Facebook. Shelley wrote to a dog wheelchair center and they are providing Santos with a wheelchair for canines so he can walk again. Here’s how it came about:

      We shared this article 14 hours ago. The comments started to come in………

      Nanci Stevens: a HERO like Santo should NEVER see the inside of a Kennel! Poor thing!

      Cindy Storm: this HERO needs to be helped !! passing this on through my team hopefully we may just be able to get him all the help he will need !!!

      Donna Ingle: there are companies that make wheel chairs for dogs that can’t use their hind ends..he’ll have to look them up..might be able to find that out on animal planet, it’s where i have seen that kindof thing before

      Demar Jackson: My mother say this and she emailed a company that does wheelchairs for animals and she is hoping that the will help him. she love German Shepards and really hopes they will help so this man can help his dog.

      Shelley Jackson : I hope this company will help Santo and his owner I love animals and this story just touched my heart I only want one gift for Christmas and that is for Santo to walk again and be a dog that is getting the love and care that he needs salute…See More

      Cathy Pridgen Cross: Way to go Demar! Thank your Mom for us!

      Shelley Jackson: I am very Happy to inform everyone that Santo will be receiving a Wheelchair from dog wheelchairs center I wrote to them to see if they can help Santo walk again to be a dog again and help his owner with this. I also told them that is the only Christmas present that I wanted was for Santo to be a dog again and to show him that there are people who care for our Military personnel whether they have one leg, two legs or even our four legged Military. We care Santo you and your owner need to stay strong and know that we care.

      Shelley Jackson: Santo’s owner and handler deserves all the help that we can give them. They need our love and support through everything I want to thank Santo and his owner and handler for all their hard work and dedication to this country and giving us our freedom. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And remember that God will always love you for all your hard work.

      Congrats to Santos from your friends at Satellite Service Post 911, American Legion Department of Missouri! Wherever you are….THERE we serve!

      Cathy Cross

      • Thank you to all involved in making this wheelchair donation a reality! Please contact the family directly to make all arrangements: helpsanto [at] gmail [dot][com]

        • wille wonka says:

          I though Pets for Patriots is helping. I need to contact whoever is coordinating this . I believe I can be a big help finding this boy a furever home equipped to handle his special needs. Penny “knows” me. My email is : . I want to help <3

          • Doctor Prince says:

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      • Grateful Citizen says:

        Shelley: We did tell you that we would help Santo’s get mobile and we meant it. We have been in touch with them via email and things are under way. Santo’s will be mobile again – hopefully with an updated video here when that happens. We only wish we had known earlier of this hero so we could have had it to him for Christmas.

      • Grateful Citizen says:

        That being said, we want to remind everyone reading that Santo’s is on medications and has vet bills. They can still use any prayers or donations that you can send their way. Koady and Santo’s are both heros and deserve all we can give them.

    • MAY THE LORD BLESS THIS DOG!! After watching the video, & having had Old GSDs who suffered from disc problems, & degenerative myopethy; I CANNOT RECCOMMEND ACCUPUNCTURE FOR THIS DOG HIGHLY ENOUGH!! I had a 10yr. old GSD in this Same condition; she Would NOT use the doggy wheelchair! I started taking her for Accupuncture twice a week. She not only TOTALLY REGAINED the use of her back legs; but lived to be almost 14yrs. old; & took DAILY 2-5 Mile Hikes with me!! LETS HELP HIM OUT!!!

    • A heartwarming video. Many thanks to all helping Santo pull through. He deserves all the help we can give he has helped many in the war zone resulting to his leg condition. Sending you lots of hugs and healing thoughts for a full recovery Santiago. You are our 4legged hero! The wheelchair will definitely help him walk instead of dragging his leg. We have a canine on wheels, she lost use of her back legs through spinal injury. Having a wheelchair is a joy for her. Wishing you many more happy doggy years Santo. You are special.

  2. Is there an address we can send $$ to?

    • You can send directly to the family via the PayPal link above, to Pets for Patriots (we will make a contribution to Santo), or email the family if you choose to mail a check: helpsanto [at] gmail [dot][com].

  3. Lover of God's creatures says:

    Sounds like the disc surgery went afoul & he’s got pinched nerves leading to his hind legs. Perhaps a doggy chiropractor could take a look at x-rays & investigate for restoring full electrical flow through the (possible) pinched nerves. Just guessing at this.

  4. Colleen Donovan says:

    This is an awesome Story about 2 very Brave members of the Armed Forces: can I also suggest both “White” Chia Seeds, in minimal amounts: The White seeds are high in anti-oxidants and will help with mobility: I am living proof.
    The American Indians used to take Chia Seeds on their lengthy journeys. Sprinkle a teaspoon on “Santo”‘s meal once daily: in about 2 weeks Koady will notice a difference. For Koady, about a tablespoon once a day….spread over cereal, yoghurt. God Bless you both!

  5. If Santo’s prognosis is paralysis of his rear legs, there is no reason he cannot live a full and active life. There are carts that are made specifically for canines with rear leg paralysis. I know a dog who lived years with such carts and was so active he wore out three. They are well constructed, and provide great mobility.

  6. Acupuncture may be very helpful for Santo! Perhaps there’s a local one who would do it for free. As far as aquatic therapy, I bet you could find a kiddy pool for Santo, but absolutely recommend a life vest altered for him so he doesn’t further injure himself trying to swim. He should be afloat and gradually gain strength probably!

    As far as Koady being out of work, it’s a sad epidemic with this economy. If you’re looking for work, websites that are helpful- post your resume (MUST RE-UPLOAD weekly to appear freshly seeking, can’t just do it once and forget it) are Monster and Careerbuilder. Other good sites are, ,, (or other major city name.) God bless, and thanks for your service to our country! Best of luck in getting Santo fixed up- all heroes need a break!

  7. Seeing a once virile and active dog succumb to a cruel paralysis is a terrible blow. It happened to my Weimaraner and I was in the process of getting him set up with a wheel harness to take the stress off his back and rear legs but a cancer took him before I could help. Check this place on the web for some ideas:

  8. a dog wheelchair works wonders if the dog has mobility in rear or front legs.
    I got one from Ruff Rolling Wheelchairs for Dogs. really awesome walkers! REALLY nice family owned place

  9. Why dosen’t the government take care of these special animals after their service like they do the troopers. It’s sad….I think I would try to file a claim witht he VA just to call the attention to it…

  10. The government does NOT care. Why on earth do you think it would? It only cares about furthering it’s own existence and ends– and feeding off the backs of the 350 million people (i.e. the masses). That’s how it’s been since day 1.

    Now, onto the dog. Due to the extent of the injuries and degree of atrophy… I feel all this laser-therapy and everything else is a waste of resources and won’t do a lick of good anyway. The water therapy might help, but a dog does not live in the water.

    What the dogs needs is a hind wheelchair (duh). They make them for dogs, for both amputees and non-amputees. This would restore the dog’s mobility and remove the weigh-bearing stress on his hind end and limbs.

    Why does it seem like the healthcare professionals are always chasing solutions that cost the most money (i.e. make them the most money) and not what is clearly the simplest and most effective remedy?

  11. This would be a good campaign for President Obama to get behind, not to mention Secretary of War?
    What sector of the military did the pup serve in and save the lives of? Perhaps they should make a few donations? Hopefully all have done so already. Donations to this great cause could also be made from the private sector that supplies the military al the goods they purchase on a daily basis? It would be a tax write off, better yet for them at this time of year. Does this non profit have a department that solicits from those who deal in military equipment and supplies?

  12. Amazing Grace……

  13. Contact “Retired Military Working Dog Assistance organization” (RMWDAO) San Antonio TX, this is what they are involved with, (Lisa Phillips, Founder/CEO).

  14. Rick Siegfried says:

    It is sick that we put these wonderful critters in harm’s way to fight stupid human wars. This should never happen. Only humans should be killed in human wars. Those who take dogs to war with them are sick, inhumane scum.

  15. Paul S. Symms DVM, CVCP says:

    I am a veterinarian and a certified veterinary chiropractitioner. In looking at Santos trying to walk in the video also look into Chiropractic Manipulation as this may help. Would be will to offer services for free but am in Alabama and would need repeated visits. Go to to look for CVCP in your area. Hope this helps

  16. Grateful Citizen says:

    I have sent an email to Santo tonite after being made aware of this situation. It is soooo sad that two heroes are not being helped. If a wheelchair is still needed I will provide it, I just need to be contacted.

  17. Sarah Lutz says:

    So thankful for all Koady and Santos have given for our country!
    The least any of us can do is help when asked. Please let me know
    If there is anything else I can do! I will try to help. Thanks to both of you,
    Koady & Santos, always.

  18. Laser therapy is worth the time to check out… what I also might suggest is an organization called …… a myofascial release organization affiliated with the Wounded Warrior Project with John Barnes Myofascial Release therapists who offer treatments for free. There are therapists who have also been trained to treat animals in addition to people. You can also check out for general information and find postings regarding animals, specifically dogs and horses.

  19. Wtf??? Who was about to kill this dog?? That’s what it says in this story!!! Don’t tell me our damn government was just gona frkn off the hero like that!!!! Shame on them!!! Wht a bunch of crap!!! They should be covering whatever it takes for this baby to have a normal well deserved life!!! I swear who do I complain to about this cuz I wikl!!! Who should I start with, anyone know who would be best to contact please tell me cuz I wana go to where it may do the most good!! We alk should complain too!!! We all should share this story too!!

  20. Just to let you know the Military Vets took good care of Santo these past 6 months. After his surgery he was not responding and they felt that if he continue to go down hill than the only option was to put to sleep. However, Santo is a strong dog and did surprise everyone by standing and he was given a reprieve. For the past 6 months he has been in a kennel at a military facility going through different therapies until he could be adopted out. Fortunately my son was able to assure the military he would take him when he found out Santo would be spared. We are blessed that they got him to the point he is today.

  21. eric craftin says:

    i have been reading about our lost four legged soldiers i did no realize how bad things are with these loyal animals it breaks my heart i want to do what i can physically i am looking into adopting in future its just sad
    read the facebook. and internet sites asking for militay dog help there are many

  22. My heart goes out to both of the vets in the story. Try taking Glucosamine Chondroitin pills ( can be found in any store like CVS ) for both. I give them to my Lab who has bad knes and my husband also takes them . They will not cure the dog but may help. My husband was told he needed knee surgery, he started taking the pills and now his knee does not give him any trouble. The human pills are good for the dog also. I checked with my vet, and he said the human ones are probably better than the dog ones. Good luck and Thanks for all you did for our country.

  23. God Bless you all that have given this honourable dog a second chance at life. Santo is a hero to this country and should be treated as one

  24. Doctor Prince says:

    I am Doctor Prince a registered traditional herbal doctor by world health organization i specialize in curing all kinds of disease or illness with the aid or root and herbals contact us today via so we can be of help to you, our herbal drugs cures all kinds of diseases such as AIDS/HIV,CANCER,Fibroid,SSI and many others contact us today and get well again within 3days as soon as you take our herbal drugs.

    Thanks as we look forward to hear from you quick.

    Doctor Prince

  25. Karen Cooper says:

    Contact – click on Canine Supplements then look for and get Complete Joint Mobility. My giant mal had severe hip dysplasia and screamed out in pain to sit down, laydown or get up and could not play at 6 mos. He lived to be a senior, 2 hrs before he passed, he was standing on his hind legs peering over the 6” fence. It took about 3 months before the pain decreased enough for him to run (for the first time) and play with others in my rescue. It takes time but it works

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