A soldier serving in Afghanistan has vowed to care for the combat dog that saved his life, for the remainder of her life.
National Geographic recently profiled Staff Sgt. Julian McDonald, who adopted Layka after she was shot four times at point-blank range. Despite her injuries, she attacked the shooter, saving McDonald and his fellow soldiers.
"On the day Layka got shot in May, instantly I felt a sense of urgency to fix her," said McDonald. "I owe this dog every moment that I have, from here on out, with my son, with my mother, with my family. I owe her everything."
Layka's right front leg was amputated during a seven-hour surgery after the attack.
McDonald had to fight hard to adopt her because she was thought to be too aggressive to live with a family. When he was finally able to bring her home, she immediately bonded with his 1-year-old son, letting him tug on her ears, poke her nose, and stick his hand in her mouth.
"She saved my life. That's why I'm here. So I owed it to her to save her life. And that's why I wanted to adopt her, and that's why I fought so hard to adopt her, even though people were saying, 'No, she's too aggressive.'"
Because Layka was trained for combat, McDonald takes her out to train with other combat dogs, and lets her sniff out a bomb or two to "satisfy her curiosity."
Check out McDonald's full story in the video below.