Veteran devoted to healing others saves dog with chronic medical needs

Veteran devoted to healing others saves dog with chronic medical needs

A stray dog with chronic medical needs sat in a Georgia shelter for more than two months. Then came a hero who took her under his wing.

Aiming high

Konner enlisted in the military to serve a higher purpose. He was stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base (AFB) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he trained as an aerospace medical technician.

“This role not only allowed me to provide critical care to a diverse demographic of patients, which included active duty members, their families, veterans, and foreign military personnel,” he says, “but also to embrace the challenges and rewards of military life.”

Konner’s most memorable experience came in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As an aerospace medical technician I was part of the team responsible for screening and testing patients at Kirtland AFB,” he recalls. “A task that evolved rapidly from donning full hazmat suits for high-risk assessments to managing efficient drive-through testing lines.”

To the young airman it was a reminder of life’s unpredictability. And the importance of teamwork when faced with a global health crisis.

But perhaps Konner’s most enduring experience was of a more personal nature.

“My military journey brought personal connections that have profoundly impacted my life, including meeting my fiancée during phase one of our training,” he says. “Both serving as aerospace medical technicians, we have shared a unique bond and have been together for nearly six years.”

Since separating from service Konner is a full-time college student studying rehabilitation science. He plans to become a licensed physical therapist upon graduation.

“…share the love”

Many veterans struggle to make the transition from military to civilian life.Veteran devoted to healing others saves dog with chronic medical needs

Konner would be no different. He missed the camaraderie and purpose he shared with fellow service members.

“Despite being busy with school and work, there was a void that these activities couldn’t fill.”

Konner shared these sentiments with his fiancée, Breanne. The couple decided that they could enhance their life together by saving another in need.

“We realized that adopting a pet could bring a sense of companionship and purpose back into our lives,” he explains, “offering an opportunity to share the love and support we had to give.”

Yet the couple was not financially prepared to save a dog who they would discover had special medical needs.

Gone astray

It was early May 2023 when Lucretia entered Lifeline at DeKalb County Animal Services.

The shelter is one of three Lifeline Animal Project campuses in the greater Atlanta area. All joined forces with Pets for Patriots to inspire veterans to adopt dogs and cats in their care. And all offer our veterans fee-waived adoptions.

At the time Lucretia was a four year-old Pit Bull mix. The former stray already had so many strikes against her. She is a much-maligned breed mix. At more than 50 pounds she is a large dog when many people prefer smaller ones. And adopters overlooked her in favor of younger animals.

Unknown at the time was that Lucretia had special medical needs. Life in a shelter did not present the types of opportunities – stairs, long walks – that might have revealed her underlying condition.

Two months went by until Konner and Breanne visited Lifeline at DeKalb County Animal Services. By this time Konner had done his online homework. He learned about our partnership with Lifeline and the many benefits we offer.

The Air Force veteran was sold.

“Pets for Patriots goes beyond the initial adoption process,” he says, “offering a network of care, advice, and community that resonates with my own values of service and camaraderie.”Veteran devoted to healing others saves dog with chronic medical needs

So a little more than a week after his approval Konner adopted Lucretia and welcomed her home. Since she was a stray and given her name at the shelter, Konner and Breanne gave her a new moniker: Hammer.

Kneecapped

Soon after welcoming Hammer home Konner discovered that the big dog was in physical pain. She struggled to walk more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time. And going up or down stairs was almost impossible.

Konner’s instincts in the healing arts kicked in. He brought Hammer to the veterinarian, who diagnosed bilateral medial patellar luxation.

The condition – kneecap dislocation – is more common in smaller breed dogs. Both trauma and genetics can play a role in this chronic medical need.

Let the healing begin

Hammer could not have chosen a more fitting couple to adopt. Both are devoted to healing the pain and suffering of others. And Konner’s career aspirations in physical therapy brought forth his innate compassion.

But there was a hitch.

The prescription supplement recommended by Hammer’s veterinarian is costly. It came as an immediate and unexpected expense, beyond the usual outlays for a new dog. Konner and Breanne had not been prepared financially to care for a dog with chronic medical needs.

So the Air Force veteran with a healing heart reached out to us for a helping hand.Veteran devoted to healing others saves dog with chronic medical needs

Our hero program assists veterans faced with pet medical bills beyond their means. It is a benefit exclusive to members of our adoption program, funded by donations.

In most cases, small or modest investments spare a pet’s surrender or suffering.

We approved Konner’s request for support. This gives him time to make room for this cost in his household budget without delaying Hammer’s care.

The results from the medication were almost immediate.

“When given the supplement we noticed an immediate change in her attitude,” Konner says.

“She was able to keep up with us on walks, [and] run and play.”

Aiming higher

Hammer may be a dog with special medical needs, but to Konner and Breanne she is simply special. Caring for her reinforces values both hold dear – values reinforced from their time in the Air Fore.

“Her presence has underscored the virtues of discipline and responsibility,” Konner says of Hammer, “traits we’re both intimately familiar with from our shared military history.”

Hammer’s well being is a shared responsibility that strengthens the couple’s bond. And with support through our hero program this young family is able to do more activities – together.

While Hammer is content to lounge at home, these days she is always up for a little adventure.

“Now she seizes every opportunity to run and play,” Konner says.

“…new lease on life”

Konner encourages veterans to apply to Pets for Patriots if they plan to adopt a companion pet.

“I would wholeheartedly encourage any veteran considering pet adoption to go through Pets for Patriots,” he says. “Their professionalism and timeliness are matched only by their kindness and genuine dedication to the cause.”Veteran devoted to healing others saves dog with chronic medical needs

The Air Force veteran sees how a modest investment restored Hammer’s mobility. In turn that has enhanced Hammer’s health by allowing her to do normal dog things. Like take long walks, or go up and down the stairs free of pain. Or hop onto her favorite spot on the couch.

Konner is grateful for the support and resources that we offer.

“Their generosity – combined with our commitment to a healthy lifestyle – has given Hammer a new lease on life.”

3 Comments

  1. MJ

    You, Breanne, and Hammer were brought together for a reason, and that is love. Whereas others might have given up and returned Hammer to the shelter because of her limitaitons, you sought help from Pets for Patriots to alleviate her pain and allow her to live the life she was meant to live as a dog. God bless you for not giving up on her, and for your service to our country.

    Reply
  2. Christine E

    Hammer is so adorable with her stuffy toy and green sweater! Thank you both for giving her a chance and accepting her medical uniqueness. Many Thanks to Pets for Patriots for helping our Heroes, both human and those with paws. You are heroes too.

    Reply
  3. Frank

    God blessed Hammer and you guys. Love you all.

    Reply

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