As a veterinary technician in the Army, one of my responsibilities was managing the care plan for the military working dogs (MWDs) at Fort Knox, KY and Fort Ben Harrison, IN. I will never forget the dogs that I worked with, their handlers, or the soldiers who worked alongside me to ensure that our beloved K-9 battle buddies received a high quality of life while serving in the military.
I remember Ajax, a German Shepherd Dog. He was one of the youngest dogs stationed at Fort Knox when I was there in 2004. Ajax had a hematoma in his ear that required surgery to correct it. After the surgery, he was moved to a kennel for recovery. He remained knocked out for what seemed like a long time. What I did next was incredible.
The Army trained me that dogs under anesthesia and recovering from anesthesia could be unpredictable. MWDs could be especially dangerous because of their aggression training. Nevertheless, my heart was drawn to Ajax in his unconscious state. I opened the kennel door and stepped into the pen. I knelt beside him, laid hands upon him, and prayed for him to recover. Within a few short minutes, Ajax was coming around. He raised his head and it swayed back and forth under the influence of anesthesia. Within moments, he tried to stand to his feet. There was not a moment that I didn’t feel safe with Ajax. I rejoiced on the inside that prayer could work on animals.
A few months after that, we had another dog, Ben, who had been facing some unusual problems. For some reason, he had stopped eating. His handlers noticed some problems with his bodily functions. Urinalyses came back normal and everything else we did came back inconclusive. That’s when the veterinarian ordered an exploratory laparotomy to diagnose the dog. We prayed for Ben, that his surgery would go well. Unfortunately, when we opened him up, we discovered that his fate was worse than we realized. Purple polyps appeared all over the omentum. If memory serves, I believe we discovered a large tumor on his spleen. At that moment, an exploratory surgery that we had hoped would help diagnose and solve Ben’s problem, became a sobering procedure. Ben was euthanized. Alongside his handler, I wept for Ben. We were distraught and I was pained from the experience.
That was the darkest day of my military career.
I revere those of you who honor our K-9 heroes. They are truly remarkable animals that save lives everyday on the battlefield. Recently, I read a story about Kay, an 8-year old Labrador/Pit Bull mix MWD. He is going to be retired and adopted by his handler; but there is a health issue at stake. A tumor was found on Kay’s heart. SPC Donahue, his handler has raised $8,000 through GoFundMe.com. Now, thanks to the generosity of many, Kay will receive life-saving surgery.
I would request that everyone who is a believer in Christ pray. I truly believe that God can heal animals. If he would heal humans when we pray in the name of Jesus, why wouldn’t he heal animals that have a special connection to us? Ajax recovered when I prayed. Not that Ben’s case was too difficult for God, because nothing is too difficult for him. I think we were too late in finding the problem. Nevertheless, Ben’s suffering ended that day and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this guardian of freedom is guarding the gates of heaven. One of my customers’ dogs, Gobi, a Boston Terrier, recently had eye surgery and complications arose during recovery. They expected the worst. But because I rallied a few people to pray, he has recovered without incident and can see now for the first time in a long time.
Prayer works. Let’s all band together and pray for Kay. Let’s pray that God will direct the handler to the right surgeon. Let’s pray that the surgeon is skillful and that with God’s help will perform a flawless surgery. Let’s pray that once the tumor is removed, that cancer will never again show it’s ugly head in the body of Kay. Let’s pray that he will have an uneventful and speedy recovery and that from the day of the surgery forward, he will be whole from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail.