Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Home Run for Marine Hero and Service Dog

Moxie with Dylan.
Moxie with Dylan.

Life in Afghanistan for Lance Corporal Dylan Bogue was made bearable by his partner Moxie, a black Labrador retriever. They worked side-by-side in the bomb unit. Dylan believes Moxie saved his life.

After serving for close to four years, Dylan, a South Carolina native, returned to civilian life. His time in Afghanistan left a number of scars—severe shoulder injuries and pain that is often hidden. Dylan suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He believes Moxie has it too.

Being apart from Moxie has been hard on Dylan, especially when he learned that Moxie had been transferred to the states. He was hoping he could be reunited with him, so he contacted Lon Hodge, a Vietnam veteran who tours the country with his service dog, Gander, to aid soldiers with PTSD. Lon andGander have helped countless veterans and their families.

“He really wanted to be reunited with Moxie,” says Lon, who launched a social media campaign to locate Moxie. He posted on Gander’s Facebook page and on Twitter. The responses were overwhelming.

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  • A sergeant who knew Dylan found Moxie working as a bomb dog for a police department in Massachusetts. “We contacted the unit, and explained the situation,” says Lon. “They decided to give Moxie to Dylan because they are both heroes and wanted to honor them. And thanks to social media, when someone with ties to the Boston Red Sox Home Base program—an outreach service for veterans—found out that Moxie would be reunited with Dylan, they invited Dylan to throw the first pitch when the Red Sox play their next game.”

    Playing baseball was a dream for Dylan, who was scouted for several baseball scholarships in his senior year of high school. When Dylan was a senior, his high school baseball team went on to win the state championship. He seriously considered a career in baseball, but joined the Marine Corps instead.

    Wounded Warriors will pay Dylan’s expenses for the trip, and the Home Base program is providing Lon and Gander with tickets to the game to accompany Dylan and Moxie.

    Michele C. Hollow writes about pets and wildlife for Parade and other publications. She writes the animal advocacy blog, Pet News and Views and is the author of The Everything Guide to Working with Animals. Connect with her on Twitter.

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    Michele C. Hollow
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