Decorated Canine War Hero Learns How To Walk Again After A Tragic Accident

Written by: Regina Lizik

November 16, 2015

Five year old Layka, a Belgian Malinois, has saved thousands of lives serving our country. In 2012, she almost lost her life when an enemy soldier shot her four times. The injuries were so severe that doctors had to amputate one of her front legs. The surgery took seven hours.

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When Layka recovered, her handler Staff Sgt. Julian McDonald, knew that he had to bring her in as part of his family.

On the day Layka got shot, instantly I felt the urgency to fix her. I owe this dog every moment that I have from here on out. I felt really bad because I was the one who put her inside of the building. I owed it to her to save her life.

Surprisingly, adopting Layka was difficult. People were afraid that the pup was too traumatized by her time at war that she would be too aggressive. Thankfully, Layka was able to join Julian’s family.

He shared their story with National Geographic in 2014.

National Geographic was so moved by Layka’s heroism, that they made her the covergirl for their June 2014 issue on war dogs.


Despite losing her leg, Layka still finds ways to serve our country. She tests out gear for military dogs. Sometimes, that testing includes skydiving!

This dog continually risks her life to help our country, but it was a freak accident on the homefront that resulted in a serious injury. Layka ran out in front of a four-wheeler and was hit. She survived, but suffered serious damage to her remaining front leg.

To make sure that the war hero is able to walk, she was taken to see specialists at University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. There, she is receiving intensive water therapy to help her recover and retain the use of her front leg.

Layka has months to go before she fully recovers and returns to her family in Oklahoma. The good news is that the brave pup is making progress. She’s been through so much in her life and been so selfless. We’re so glad that there are wonderful humans looking out for her, just like she’s looked out for us by serving our country.

Feature image via Animal Rescue Home.

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Written by: Regina Lizik

November 16, 2015

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