With admiration, Julian saw Layka as a true hero and he was committed to saving her from any potential harm as a way of showing his gratitude.
Julian McDonald, a Staff Sergeant, had no clue that his decision to send Layka, a military dog, to sweep a building in Afghanistan before his team entered would change his life. McDonald was in charge of taking care of the Belgian Malinois while working as their handler during their stay in the country.
Back in 2013, the sergeant arranged for a dog to investigate the building before boldly leading his troops inside. The sound of gunshots gave them all cause for concern, making it clear that the facility was potentially hazardous.
Some people with guns were inside the building and shot Layka four times from a short distance away. Then they pointed their guns at the soldiers outside. But Layka fought back and stopped one of her attackers, even though she got hurt. She also protected the soldiers and kept them safe.
After a challenging and intense seven-hour surgery, the expert veterinarians were able to successfully rescue the dog from an almost certain death. Sadly, one of its legs had to be amputated during the procedure, meaning it was left with only three. Nonetheless, the most important thing was that the dog survived.
After suffering an injury, the dog had to go through some physical therapy to regain her mobility. Despite the setback, she remained enthusiastic about life once she received treatment. However, Layka faced another challenge when she sustained a second injury to her other front leg. According to Rebecca Switzer, who met Layka and her caretaker later on, the situation was grave because the dog only had one leg left. This additional complication meant that not only was she struggling with just one leg but also her remaining limb was now at risk.
Upon first encountering Layka, the Switzers were taken aback by her physical limitations and the emotional distress she experienced while on duty. Touched by her courage in saving countless lives, they generously contributed to a fund created to help mend her injured paw. Thanks to the dedication of her trainer, Layka was eventually adopted into a caring family who would shower her with affection.
Despite initial concerns about Layka’s history and behavior during training, McDonald was determined to adopt her as a pet. He was successful in doing so, and Layka underwent a transformation from an aggressive military dog to a loving companion. To everyone’s surprise, Layka even allowed McDonald’s one-year-old child to play on her back upon arriving at their home.
Sergeant McDonald expressed his gratitude to the dog for rescuing him, and he plans to ensure that the retiring canine enjoys a peaceful and joyful retirement. He acknowledged that he owes everything to his loyal companion and intends to spend quality time with his family as an act of appreciation. A National Geographic video showcasing Layka’s seamless integration into her handler’s family can be shared with loved ones at no cost.