Navy veteran hoping for help to save PTSD service dog
A U.S. Navy veteran is heartbroken after his PTSD service dog was critically injured by another dog.
He's hoping the community will step up to help with treatment to keep his pup alive.
Michael Chambers served in the U.S. Navy as an operations specialist until 2012. He faced deployments to Bahrain and, later, Afghanistan where his vehicle was hit by an IED.
“I took shrapnel into my right leg,” Chambers said.
His most painful injury is not visible to the outside world.
“I never bounced back from the PTSD and I'll never bounce back from it,” said Chambers.
One year after returning to Texas, Michael met a dog at a ranch in Bandera that changed his life.
“I rescued Jack from them because he was in a very abusive situation to where he was being malnourished, he was being neglected, and he was damaged. And I knew what it felt like to be damaged and I decided that we could be damaged together,” Chambers said.
The Navy veteran realized his dog helped him heal the scars doctors couldn't. So he took steps to make sure Jack could go everywhere with him.
“He is a federally registered service animal PTSD and companionship,” said Chambers.
Tuesday, the pair were at home in Bee Cave when a stray female Labrador- mix walked onto their property. Within seconds, she attacked.
“She shook him like a ragdoll and that's when “no” came out, and that's all I could say, just rapidly and repetitive as possible, just, ‘No, no, no, no, no. This is not happening,’” Chambers said.
“I heard Michael screaming and I heard the dogs snarling at each other and I heard Jack screeching,” said Michael’s fiancé, Emily Nelson.
Michael and Emily tried to pry the dog's mouth open to save Jack's life.
“Once I got him away and I was holding him, he had gashes in his neck that were so deep and long that I just knew he was going to die and then that was going to be it. That was going to be the end of Jack, the end of my little buddy,” Chambers said.
Miraculously, Jack survived, but he had deep wounds on his neck, abdomen and groin that needed medical attention Michael and Emily couldn't afford.
They found out Texas A&M Animal Hospital offers financial help for medically retired veteran's service animals through Eli’s Fund. Jack has been there ever since.
“To have to leave him in that hospital and to see him lying there in those bandages the way he was, just absolutely tore my heart in half,” said Nelson.
Jack is getting better, but he will need another couple of weeks in the hospital to fully recover and the $5,000 from Eli’s Fund has run out. Which is why Michael is hoping someone, somewhere can help save the pup that saved him so many times.
“I need my son to be okay. I need the little man who makes my day go around to be at home with his family,” Chambers said.
Chambers has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for Jack’s recovery.
He says any additional donations will be turned over to Texas A&M Animal Hospital to help other veteran’s service animals.