We've highlighted multiple service dogs on this blog, whether it be therapy dogs, guide dogs, or military dogs. Unfortunately, sometimes the dogs with the biggest hearts with the most life-saving deeds under their belts (collars?) are the ones who tragically lose their lives.
That's why today's blog is about Mike, a very special canine. Mike, a Belgian Malinois, spent most of his life in military training and completed two tours alongside his human comrade, Matthew Bessler. Mike was bomb-sniffing dog, which meant he helped his comrades detect bombs before they endangered them. He served with Matthew and other Special Forces soldiers. Aside from helping find bombs, he performed routine patrols and tracked insurgents.
But not only did Mike protect Bessler on the battlefield, but at home as well. After returning home from Iraq, Bessler suffered from major PTSD. Not only this, but Bessler is affected with many other physical problems due to his time serving. He raised Mike from the time he was a puppy, and Mike was able to help warn him of impending seizures and sudden pains because of his TBI (traumatic brain injury.) As Bessler had said about Mike, "“He can help take the focus and help change the focus of what’s going on with me and help me calm down or relax me.”
So why are we talking about Mike? Because tragically, he lost his life last week, but not on the battlefield, at home. Authorities are continuing to investigate Mike's death, which occurred October 10th when Bessler was out of town for the day. Reportedly, a 59-year-old bicycler was riding his bicycle past Bessler's house in Wyoming when he says Mike attacked him. He claims he had to use his bike as a shield and eventually shot the dog, who ran away. Mike died from the injuries sustained from the shooting.
Though the biker has so far been found not at fault for the shooting, there are inconsistencies with his story. Bessler reports that Mike was never aggressive, and never left the yard unless it was to greet people that he knew in a friendly way. Mike doesn't even have teeth since he wore them down from chewing on rocks. The neighbors also reported hearing no barking or attack sounds. The first noise they heard was the shot that killled Mike. Mike was also shot in the backside, which is inconsistent with the biker's story that he was being attacked by him.
Let's hope that the truth comes out either way, whether it be a tragic accident or not, and that the consequences fall where they should. No matter what, let's all bow our heads for Mike, a truly amazing canine who certainly deserved a longer life.
If you wish to help, you can go to Bessler's GoFundMe page, "RIP Major Mike – Hero Service Dog," and donate towards the fund in an effort to give Mike a well-deserved military burial.
Rest in peace, Mike, an all-around amazing service dog.