Soldier Dog's Treatment Is an Insult to the Military

Megan Van Schaick

german shepherdBasco, an 80-pound German Shepherd, was recently discharged from the military after two tours of duty in Iraq. Basco’s no ordinary dog. He spent his time in Iraq sniffing out bombs, putting his life on the line each and every day to protect our troops and the people of Iraq. He’s a true war hero, one who was lucky enough to make it home alive.

You would think he'd receive a hero's welcome, right? Fanfare, adoration and respect galore. He's receiving something for his service, but it's probably not what you expect.

Basco's reward for his service to his country? Scientific experimentation.

You see, Basco suffers from osteoarthritis in his hips. We all know what happens to big dogs with hip problems. (In case you don’t, they are often forced to be put down because their hips just plain give out on them, rendering them immobile.)

Because Basco is older (he’s 7), he’s not a good candidate for traditional hip surgeries. His age and condition mean he’s simply less likely to recover well from surgery – just like an elderly person. So instead, doctors want to experiment on him with a stem cell therapy. Supposedly, the animals own stem cells are used to help regenerate tissue broken down by the ravages of arthritis.

Sounds like a good thing, right?

It should be. I’m all for treating this dog. I know I’d do just about anything necessary to save the lives of my dogs. But I also know that I would never knowingly subject them to what is essentially more stem cell research, to an experimental procedure with no real results to back it up.

This dog, a military hero, isn’t just being treated, he’s being experimented on. We are supposed to believe that highly controversial stem cell research is suddenly okay? Or is it just okay because he’s already served out his days in the military. They don’t need him anymore, so he gets thrown to the research wolves.

Basco deserves to be living in the lap of luxury, treated as a true hero to the country. He did what most human soldiers would never dream of, all without complaint. To render him a mere vessel of scientific experimentation is a horrific insult to the life he dedicated to our country.

What do you think of Basco's treatment?


Image via Mrs Logic/Flickr

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