July 21, 2021 | 2:00pm | Updated July 21, 2021 | 2:14pm
Teddy, a comfort dog, was unable to pick himself up after three weeks of nonstop caregiving at the site of the Surfside condo collapse.
Crisis Response Canines
A therapy dog who was left unable to walk after helping bereaved families at the site of the Florida condo collapse got a first-class ticket back home to Philadelphia — thanks to an offer by a New Jersey aviation group.
Teddy, a 6-year-old basset hound-Labrador mix, came to Surfside with a team of crisis response pups immediately after last month’s tragedy.
Since then, he’d been on site to greet those who came to look for and mourn the dozens of loved ones lost in the collapse.
But after three weeks of nonstop caregiving, Teddy awoke last week unable to pick himself up.
“He’s just not able to walk,” Dr. Tonya Carswell, Teddy’s attending doctor in Florida, told CBS 4 in Miami.
Dr. Beth Hirschfeld, a veterinary acupuncturist, told the station that the benevolent dog apparently developed “a possible herniated disc, as well as a partial tear of his cranial crucial ligament in his knee.”
Teddy’s owner, Sophia Barrett, was hoping that a fundraiser would raise enough money to charter a plane for a flight back to Philly, since a commercial airline flight or highway trip would be too stressful and unsafe.
Titan Aviation Group, headquartered in Morristown, New Jersey, swooped in to help, WSVN reported.
“When I’m having bad day, my dog puts a smile on my face,” company owner Dirk Vander Sterre told the news outlet. “What he was doing down there was great. As soon as I saw it, I wanted to be involved.”
Pilot Jim Rozma said Teddy would be welcomed aboard an eight-seat Hawker 800XP corporate jet whose flight would normally cost $10,000.
“Teddy will have first-class service, of course,” Rozman told WSVN. “He’s going to be on a private jet and air conditioning, of course, and I’m sure he’ll have some access to water, as well.”
While Teddy needed some assistance getting up the stairs, he enjoyed a comfortable seat and VIP — Very Important Pooch — service en route to the City of Brotherly Love.
“He was out there and worked his heart out to meet all those people and to give them a lick and be friendly with them,” Sophia’s dad, Jeff, told the station.