MILWAUKEE — On July 25, the Journal Sentinel ran a story about War Dogs and how they serve our country, but don’t retire with any health benefits. The K9 featured in the story was Flo — a retired bomb-sniffing dog who was adopted and brought to Wisconsin by her 23-year-old Marine handler, Cody Crangle.
When her time with the military was done, Crangle had to pester and fight to be able to adopt his companion, who was by his side for seven months in Afghanistan. Retired life meant lots of playing in the park, but on a recent trip, Flo began to limp. Crangle took her to the veterinarian, where they discovered that she would need ACL surgery. For Crangle, who is a college student and works part-time, the surgery was going to be a huge expense, but he refused to let his friend suffer.
Crangle wasn’t seeking any type of monetary donations when he spoke to the newspaper, but that didn’t stop his community from coming forward. Just a few days after the story ran, emails and phone calls began to pour into both the Journal Sentinel’s office and into the offices of War Dogs, a volunteer organization based out of Menomonee Falls.
Jerry Witt, who served in Vietnam with K9’s, helps run War Dogs, and set up a fund at Wisconsin American Bank to cover the costs of Flo’s surgery, recovery, and possible need for more surgery. American Bank then called Witt to say that they would be covering the $4,000 for her initial surgery. We reached out to Witt to discuss Flo and what they’re doing for military K9’s.
Witt said that this is the first time they’ve ever fundraised for this particular type of project, but they intend to keep the fund going after Flo’s surgery so that they can help as many military and service dogs as possible. Crangle had been involved with War Dogs for several years, so when they became aware of his situation, they knew they had to help. Since Flo’s story has been reported, they haven’t received requests from any other dogs in need, but they don’t mind when they do. To our readers, Witt had this to say:
“Having first-hand experience being a dog handler I know how valuable these dogs are. They saved a lot of men from being wounded or dead. They are true veterans in every sense. They were trained by the military, handled by soldiers who were their handlers, and have served this country with honor. So in my opinion the military/government should take care of these four-legged vets as well as all the rest of the vets who served this country.”
Lastly, as someone who is very involved with military dogs, I had to ask Witt about his opinion of “Max”, the movie, and was pleased to find out that he felt it gave an accurate portrayal of how these dogs work in combat situations and their relationship with their handlers. The only thing he wasn’t too sure about was how “Max” reacted when he came home to the family, but he does know that military dogs could and probably would develop new relationships after being adopted in such a way.
Thank you for the valuable insight and for shedding light on the plight of war dogs, Jerry!