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Merville puppy travelling to Texas to comfort injured veteran

HEATHER WILSON HOLDS Ayla, who will embark on a intercontinental journey to live with a wounded soldier in Dallas. Also pictured are Ayla
HEATHER WILSON HOLDS Ayla, who will embark on a intercontinental journey to live with a wounded soldier in Dallas. Also pictured are Ayla's parents Slade and Kizza.
— image credit: Photo submitted

A German shepherd puppy will soon embark on a trip from Merville to Texas, where she will live with a wounded soldier who fought in Afghanistan.

Ayla, who was born Sept. 11, will stop over in Montreal, where she will be greeted by a Boston woman who will train her for a couple of months. The dog will next fly to Las Vegas to meet Jeff Anderson, who has spearheaded the Wounded Warrior Fundraiser to assist fallen soldiers with companion dogs. Then it's off to Texas to live with Jacob De La Garza and his family, who chose Ayla's name. The 30-year-old husband and father of two is an amputee.

The idea behind Anderson's initiative is to provide a companion/mobility dog to make life a little easier for amputees and soldiers who suffer post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

"They're really finding it's helping these guys a lot," said Heather Wilson, who owns Broomeacres German shepherds along with husband Doug. "It's doing miracles actually with a lot of the soldiers."

The Merville breeders became involved with Anderson's program after selling a puppy to the woman from Boston, who had the dog certified to visit autistic children in schools. "That's how she met Jeff, and Jeff just loved the way the puppy acted with people," Heather said. "And that's how we all got together.

"I haven't met any of them yet. Hopefully, we're trying to maybe meet them all."

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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