Shelter Dog Meal Donation Count:

Learn More

Military Dog Saves Soldier On The Battlefield – Soldier Pays Him Back In Kindest Way

Written by: Samantha H
| Published on May 22, 2019

The US military is made up of more than just brave men and women. Dogs also fight on behalf of the American people. Fearless canines fight amongst humans. This is the story of one brave Belgian Malinois named Lyka.

Layka on duty in Afghanistan
​Source: National Geographic YouTube

Wounded warrior

Lyka served as a US military combat dog in Afghanistan. During her duty, Layka was shot four times by the enemy at point-blank range. Even though was extremely injured, Lyka attacked and subdued the shooter. She saved her handler Staff Sgt. Julian McDonald, and the other members of their team.

Lyka had extensive injuries. When her team was able to retreat, they brought the wounded dog in for medical care. She required seven hours of surgery. In the end, doctors were not able to save one of her legs. However, the amputation saved her life.

The military was so appreciative of Lyka’s heroism, they recognized her with the American Humane Military Hero Award. Due to her injuries, though, Lyka had to retire.

Layka at home
​Source: National Geographic YouTube

A new home

After her discharge, Staff Sgt. McDonald knew he wanted to bring her home. In National Geographic’s video about their story, McDonald said, “If the dogs put their time in for their country, then the country owes it to them, to put the time into them.”

However, some in the military’s administration worried Lyka’s temperament and trauma would make the transition to civilian life difficult.

“She saved my life and that’s why I’m here. I owed it to her to save her life. So that’s why I wanted to adopt her. And that’s why I fought so hard to adopt her even though people said she was too aggressive,” McDonald said.

Eventually, he was able to bring her home to live with his wife and one-year-old son. McDonald’s small son and Lyka bonded immediately. She was not bothered by his curious nature. She patiently let him explore, hug, and kiss her. McDonald wasn’t surprised.

“If you bring them into a home environment, they will become a product of that environment because all animals learn to adapt and survive.”

Lyka received a hero’s welcome home. She was on the cover of National Geographic  and was featured in HBO’s short film “War Dog: A Soldier’s Best Friend.”

Watch Lyka’s remarkable story below.

H/T I Love My Dog So Much
Featured Image: National Geographic YouTube

Recent Articles

Interested in learning even more about all things dogs? Get your paws on more great content from iHeartDogs!

Read the Blog