Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Celebrated bomb-sniffing Air Force dog survives brush with heatstroke

TAMPA — When a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois dog named Eddie put his nose to the ground in Afghanistan last year, he was credited with saving an entire Air Force platoon from an improvised explosive device.

The bomb had gone unnoticed during the group's patrol until Eddie alerted his handler, Staff Sgt. Shannon Hutto, just moments before Hutto would have stepped on it. Later, the dog found another IED on a bridge the 13-man platoon was about to cross.

For that, Eddie won awards, heaps of praise and countless tosses of a rubber ball.

But the dog's military brothers in the 6th Security Forces Squadron could never return the favor he did for them. Until Monday.

That's when Eddie was going through a routine "bite training" drill — an exercise designed to hone the biting and attack skills of law enforcement and military dogs. After just 10 minutes in the hot sun outside MacDill Air Force Base, the dog suddenly fell ill.

His handlers immediately recognized the signs: heavy panting, frothy saliva, a seizure. All of it told them Eddie was in danger of succumbing to heatstroke.

Hutto and Air Force Staff Sgt. George Holmes, another of Eddie's handlers, rushed him to Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners, an emergency veterinary hospital in Tampa. There, the dog underwent immediate care to reduce his body temperature and save his life. All the while, his brothers in arms remained at his side.

"This is a great example of what happens when people are properly trained to recognize the signs of heatstroke," said BluePearl spokesman James Judge. "In the last year and a half, I haven't seen too many dogs that come in with heatstroke that make it."

The hospital made Eddie the subject of a news release, along with tips for dog owners to help them avoid a brush with the deadly affliction. They include walking during the mornings or evenings when it is cooler outside, making sure the dog has plenty of cool water throughout the day and never leaving pets unattended.

As for Eddie, hospital officials anticipate he will make a full recovery. He is expected to return to MacDill in the next few days, where he will continue to hone his talents for sniffing out explosives and chasing rubber balls.

Celebrated bomb-sniffing Air Force dog survives brush with heatstroke 10/22/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 8:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Southeast Seminole Heights holds candlelight vigil for victims' families and each other

    News

    TAMPA — They came together in solidarity in Southeast Seminole Heights, to sustain three families in their grief and to confront fear, at a candlelight vigil held Sunday night in the central Tampa neighborhood.

    A peaceful march that began on east New Orleans Avenue was held during the candlelight vigil for the three victims who were killed in the recent shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa on Sunday, October 22, 2017.
  2. It's not just Puerto Rico: FEMA bogs down in Florida, Texas too

    HOUSTON — Outside Rachel Roberts' house, a skeleton sits on a chair next to the driveway, a skeleton child on its lap, an empty cup in its hand and a sign at its feet that reads "Waiting on FEMA."

    Ernestino Leon sits among the debris removed from his family’s flood-damaged Bonita Springs home on Oct. 11. He has waited five weeks for FEMA to provide $10,000 to repair the home.
  3. McConnell says he's awaiting Trump guidance on health care

    STERLING, Va. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he's willing to bring bipartisan health care legislation to the floor if President Donald Trump makes clear he supports it.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s “not certain yet” on what Trump wants.
  4. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.
  5. Jones: Where are the difference-makers on the Bucs defense?

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — They can't tackle. They can't cover. They can't pressure the quarterback, let alone sack him.

    Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) scrambles past Bucs defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (98) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]