Injured Surfside Collapse Response Dog Thanked With Free Flight Home

Teddy the therapy dog’s presence was much needed at the location 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 a minimum of 97 people. As a crisis response dog, Teddy was there to comfort first responders and other people mourning lost or missing loved ones. Together Teddy and his host, Sophie Barrett, traversed the rubble of rescue and recovery and visited the Unification Center.

Barrett told the Miami News on the 7th that the comfort work brought joy to both of them: “It’s horrible what’s happening in Surfside, and to be ready to be that bright spot in people’s days was a privilege.”

After three weeks of providing support, Teddy woke up suddenly, unable to choose himself. His back legs appeared 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 physiotherapy and laser therapy also as acupuncture to ameliorate his symptoms. Dr. Beth Hirschfeld, a veterinary acupuncturist, told CBS 4: “It appears that he features a possible ruptured intervertebral disc, also as a partial tear of his cranial cruciate ligament in his knee.”

Fortunately, Barrett has a family in Hollywood, Florida, so Teddy has a place to receive treatment. Teddy’s injuries worry Barrett though, who hopes he can continue his work supporting people: “I’m frightened of him not having the ability to steer again. He’s such a lively dog … it might completely impact the standard of his life because that’s what he does.”

Since the commercials flying home were too stressful for Teddy and driving for a long time was too difficult for him, Barrett asked for help. Titan Airlines Group responded to this decision. The corporate offered Teddy and his family a free ride back to Philly on a Hawker 800 XP 8-seater aircraft. Dirk Vander Sterre, owner of Titan Aviation Group, said he was happy to try this for this 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.”

Usually, the cost of a private flight like this is about $10,000. Teddy needs some help to climb the steps of the jet plane, but once on the plane, he has a comfortable sofa to lie on. Pilot Jim Rozman said:

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“Teddy will have first-class service, of course. He’s getting to get on a personal jet and air con, 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 figure soon. Since Teddy’s needs are met through donations, the family asks that you simply instead donate on to Crisis Response Canines. The work they are doing is clearly appreciated and important!