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How Animals Help Our Wounded Warriors - Dan Spangler

  • Broadcast in Self Help
The KICKASS Guide to Life

The KICKASS Guide to Life


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Animal companions play an important role in the stabilization and emotional well-being of our
returning veterans.

“I don’t know where I would be without the companionship that my dog Spanky gave me when I
came home from Iraq,” says Dan Spangler, who served as a sergeant in the Marine Corps.
“Spanky saved me.”

Dan adopted Spanky in 2003 when he returned home from deployment. Dan needed months of
medical treatment for an injury he sustained jumping from a truck when gunfire broke out at a
checkpoint. Looking back, he realizes what an important role Spanky played in both his physical
and emotional recovery.

Now Dan and Spanky are setting out on a more than 6,000 mile cross country trek from Camp
Lejeune, NC to Camp Pendleton, CA to raise awareness and funds for “Operation: Keep Your
Spanky,” a new program that provides resources, in-kind assistance and low-cost veterinary care
for military families and veteran pet owners during times of financial crisis.

“I want all veterans to have a Spanky, but it’s a sad fact that military veterans often experience
financial difficulties where they face the heartbreaking choice of giving up their pets,” says Dan.
Dan says that keeping pets in their homes not only benefits the veteran owners, but it benefits
area shelters and rescue organizations who otherwise might end up with the pet.