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This Service Dog Helped Restore A Disabled Veteran Life In a Shocking Way. Now She’s Paying It Forward

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Moxie, an extraordinary dog, played a crucial role in saving Christy Gardner’s life after a devastating event that left her near death. In 2006, Christy served as a sergeant in the United States Army’s military police overseas.

Her unit faced an attack that resulted in severe injuries, including the loss of two fingers and both legs, along with other serious wounds.

Christy fought for her life in the hospital for a challenging year and a half. Doctors told her she would never regain her independence, and this plunged her into a deep depression. The thought of depending on her parents for care as a fully disabled person was unbearable, and she struggled to find the strength to carry on. But everything changed when she met Moxie.

“They said I would never live alone, walk, ride a bike, or swim,” Christy remembered. “I couldn’t even cook or bathe alone because of my disabilities. It was incredibly disheartening to hear that I would be dependent on my parents or a caregiver for the rest of my life and that I would never be active again.”

Doctors recommended that Christy get a service dog, which is how Moxie, the golden retriever, entered her life. Service dogs are highly trained to assist with everyday tasks like opening and closing doors, carrying bags, putting away groceries, and turning lights on and off. Moxie was also trained to detect seizures, which Christy experienced due to a head injury from the attack.

As Christy grew stronger, she witnessed the incredible impact of service animals in saving lives. She decided to help other veterans experience this power by founding a nonprofit called Mission Working Dogs in 2020. The program trains puppies and pairs them with disabled veterans.

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“I always wanted to serve in the Army,” Christy explained. “When that dream was cut short, I felt worthless. I needed a purpose, and this feels like a great way to continue serving.”

Christy is now a certified dog trainer, and Mission Working Dogs is thriving. They have raised 58 dogs, and a new facility on 12 acres in Oxford, Maine, is set to open in 2023. Sadly, Moxie has passed away, but her memory lives on at the nonprofit’s new campus.

To date, thirteen service dogs have graduated from Christy’s program, with most of them working with veterans.

“With our first graduating class, two of the veterans said that if it wasn’t for their dogs, they wouldn’t have made it through the pandemic,” Christy shared. “I don’t need gratitude; just knowing that we made a difference and essentially saved their lives is enough.”

Christy now has a new service dog named Doug, and there’s no stopping her. This wounded veteran understands that a life spent with animals is a life well-lived.

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Birminghamgist Staff is a News Reporter, making waves in the UK with insightful and Engaging reporting.

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