Teddy the therapy dog’s presence was much needed at the site of the Surfside Condo Collapse. The 6-year-old Basset Hound/Labrador mix traveled from Philadelphia to Surfside, Florida with a team of crisis response dogs shortly after the 12-story building crumbled, killing at least 97 people.
As a crisis response dog, Teddy was there to comfort first responders and people mourning lost or missing loved ones. With his owner Sophie Barrett, Teddy traveled across the rubble where rescue and recovery took place and visited the reunification center.
Barrett told 7 News Miami the work of comforting brought them both joy:
“It’s horrible what’s happening in Surfside, and to be able to be that bright spot in people’s days was a privilege.”
The Helper Needs Help
After three weeks of offering support, Teddy suddenly awoke unable to pick himself up. His back legs seemed to have stopped working. Barrett suspects that walking over rubble in the heat with extra weight on his back may have caused the injury.
Currently, Teddy is undergoing physical therapy and laser therapy as well as acupuncture to relieve his symptoms. Dr. Beth Hirschfeld, a veterinary acupuncturist, told CBS 4:
“It appears that he has a possible herniated disc, as well as a partial tear of his cranial crucial ligament in his knee.”
Luckily, Barrett has family in Hollywood, Florida, so Teddy had a place to undergo treatment. Teddy’s injuries really worry Barrett though, who hopes he can continue his work supporting people:
“I’m scared of him not being able to walk again. He’s such an active dog … It would completely impact the quality of his life because that’s what he does.”
Teddy Gets A Lift Home
Since flying home commercial would be too stressful for Teddy and a long drive too tough on him, Barrett reached out for help. Titan Aviation Group answered that call. The company offered Teddy and his family a free ride back to Philly on a Hawker 800 XP 8-seater aircraft.
Titan Aviation Group owner Dirk Vander Sterre said he was more than glad to do this for the dog:
“When I’m having bad day, my dog puts a smile on my face. What he was doing down there was great. As soon as I saw it, I wanted to be involved.”
Typically, a private flight like this would cost around $10,000. Teddy needed some help getting up the steps to the jet, but once on board, he had a comfy couch to lie on. Pilot Jim Rozman said:
“Teddy will have first-class service, of course. He’s going to be on a private jet and air conditioning, of course, and I’m sure he’ll have some access to water, as well.”
After what he did for the people in Surfside, Teddy deserves to be rewarded! Hopefully, he’ll be better and back to work soon.
Since Teddy’s needs have been met through donations, the family asks that you instead donate directly to Crisis Response Canines. The work they do is obviously appreciated and important!