Military family's dog gets life-saving surgery after outpouring of support

11:06 PM, Oct 1, 2012   |    comments
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Jake the service dog helped US military veteran Karl Hofle heal when nothing else could.

When a medical crisis threatened Jake's life, Hofle's wife Sharon sent 9NEWS a newstip asking for help, and you came through.

The Hofle family now has a brighter future thanks to the kindness of strangers.

With each step, each breath, and each bark, Jake is growing stronger after a life saving hip replacement surgery that seemed impossible just two weeks ago.

"The surgery went well. It's just amazing," Karl Hofle said.

The Hofles asked for your help, at a time when life felt hopeless.

"I'm not sure where we would have ended up. Because it was really difficult," Sharon Hofle said.

Karl suffers from PTSD, severe anxiety, and severe depression.

Jake changed his life.

"He keeps me sane. He's a savior for me. If not, I would have lost everything," he said.

Karl was deployed three times. Six months in the Persian Gulf, six months in Operation Enduring Freedom, and one year in Iraq. After nearly 20 years of military service, he came home a different person.

"I didn't know how to help my husband," Sharon Hofle said.

When Jake came into their lives, life got better.

But things took a turn for the worse when the 10-month-old Airdale was diagnosed with severe hip dysplasia.

The Hofles had a choice of either putting Jake to sleep or paying $10,000 for hip replacement surgery, which they could not afford after 9 months of Karl searching for a job.

"I know he was in pain and I didn't want him to suffer but I didn't want to put him down either," he said.

Thanks to you, the Hofles didn't have to make that choice.

Donations began pouring in within hours of telling Jake's story on 9NEWS. Cash came in from at least 37 states and six countries, totaling $55,000.

The donated money will pay for all of Jake's medical bills and training.

The Hofles say they'll use the rest to establish a college fund for their granddaughter and they also plan to "pay it forward" and help other veterans in need.

"We are so grateful. So grateful," Sharon Hofle said.

For the first time in a long time, life doesn't seem hopeless.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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