Dog saves veteran from taking his own life

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CHICAGO, Dec. 20, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- It's a miracle that Sergeant Michael Sorensen is still alive. A veteran of the Iraq war, he was blasted by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) four times during his deployments and suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury. He has a cracked T-4 vertebra which needs kyphoplasty surgery to stabilize his spine. For his sacrifices, he was awarded a Purple Heart. Since his service ended in 2009, Michael has been admitted to VA hospitals on five different occasions to overcome the symptoms of PTSD, but each time the treatments failed. Michael became depressed and angry – even suicidal.


Then Michael met Bane. Bane came from a rescue organization which retrains pit bulls to be companion and therapy dogs for war veterans. The organization saved Bane from a local animal shelter where he was scheduled to be euthanized the next day if no one adopted him.

At first, even with Bane, Michael was still in a bad state of mind. One night, Michael made the decision to end the suffering. Bane sensed that something was wrong and wouldn't leave his side, guarding Michael from the knife that he set out on the bed. Michael broke down in tears as he realized that this dog cared for him. After that night, Michael and Bane became inseparable. Bane had saved Michael's life. Today, Bane wears a harness so that Michael can lean on him. He brings Michael's shoes to him; he turns on and off the lights.

One day, Bane started limping heavily on his right rear leg. It was getting progressively worse and when Michael took Bane to the veterinarian, it was discovered that he had a torn ligament and would require immediate surgery. Combined with Michael's own surgery needs resulting from the IED explosions and the limited income he received from his monthly disability checks, Michael had no funds to pay for Bane's surgery.

Michael postponed his own back surgery to seek financial assistance for his best friend. He wanted to be physically able to help Bane recover. Michael was referred to RedRover®, a California-based animal welfare nonprofit, and applied for a RedRover Relief grant for financial assistance. RedRover's case manager worked with Michael's veterinary office and negotiated a 30 percent reduction for the cost of Bane's surgery. With an additional donation from an anonymous RedRover On-Call Angel donor, RedRover was able to cover the cost of Bane's surgery.


Today, Michael is preparing for his own back surgery, and is grateful to have Bane happy and healthy by his side. When asked how the two of them have been helping each other, Michael said "I think it's the same as asking how two brothers would help each other if they were both injured. Bane comes over to me when I'm not well and lets me know to relax in any situation. I am making sure that Bane is careful with his leg so he'll still be with me later in life."


Founded in 1987, RedRover focuses on bringing animals out of crisis and strengthening the bond between people and animals through emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and education. The RedRover Relief program helps Good Samaritans, animal rescuers and pet owners to meet the cost of emergency veterinary care they otherwise couldn't afford. Please consider making a donation to help more animals in crisis:

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CONTACT: Leili Khalessi RedRover Marketing and Communications Manager 916.429.2457 ext. 314