Friday, May 14, 2010

And Then There were Five (legs)

Andy met Manna, a rescued two year old Border Collie mix, in May 2010 almost 5 1/2 years after is Alive Day. Andrew Butterworth is a retired U.S. Army National Guard Sergeant who proudly served our country in Iraq. Andy's life was forever changed on November 15. Members of their platoon were on patrol near the town of Tuz Kharmatu, north of Baghdad, doing reconnaissance on a place they'd never been before in the turret of a Bradley fighting vehicle, an armored personnel carrier. There were six soldiers in the back of the vehicle and 20 soldiers in their convoy, but Andy and his lieutenant were the only two seriously injured; the insurgents were killed.

Andy was familiar with Carolina Canines; he and recipient Ed Salau (Tales & Tails Christmas 2007), 1st LT NC Army National Guard, Retired, have been through a lot together. Injured when the grenade exploded between them on that fateful day in November 2004, Andy and Ed journeyed together on their path of healing from room mates at Walter Reed, seeing who had their stitches out first, who healed the fastest, who received their temporary leg first to receiving their Purple Hearts. And, now, Andy follows a similar path as Ed, having gained a new four-legged friend to help him with his mobility.

The partnering of Andy with Service Dog Manna is the 8th pairing of a wounded veteran with a service dog from the Carolina Canines for Veterans (CCV) program. Manna was trained by the prisoners at the Marine Corp Base Camp Lejeune Brig. Manna's story is like many discarded dogs. She was found on the streets of Wilmington, NC by a former employee of Queensboro Shirt Company severely underweight and missing most of her hair. When the person could not keep her, Manna was turned over to Tails U Win rescue for care and adoption. In November 2008, Carolina Canines was looking to add dogs into the CCV program, Manna, formerly know as Madison, was a good candidate.

Through this pairing of Veteran and Service Dog, one thing has prevailed, Andy's sense of humor. Fondly known as Butter, Andy now has his own "bread" to share life with. Andy is currently enrolled in college in Florida. He and Manna will return home to continue their bonding and work together as Andy learns to use his new friend to assist with his daily needs giving him four new legs.