ENGLEWOOD- He doesn't get around as well as he used to.
His name is Tango, and he is a Freedom Service Dog, trained to help clients with special needs.
Several weeks ago, his life turned upside down, literally.
"It was heart-wrenching-it was really difficult," said Briana Ore of Freedom Service Dogs.
Tango was in a car accident and was thrown from a vehicle near Albuquerque, New Mexico.
He sustained a number of injuries: among them a collapsed lung and a severely broken pelvis, which put pressure on his spinal cord.
The vet treating him in New Mexico didn't know if Tango would make it and called Freedom Service Dogs to let them know what happened.
"He needed very substantial surgery and it was not inexpensive," Ore said.
Freedom Service Dogs said, if there was a chance Tango could survive, the vet should do whatever it took to save him.
"We decided at that point, because the client was unable to care for him, that we would take him back into our custody and treat him, essentially, so that he wouldn't have to be euthanized," Ore said.
It takes one year, at a cost of $25,000 to train service dogs like Tango. For three years, he helped a client deal with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Now, Tango is left with disorders of his own.
The final bill for Tango's surgery and care: $20,000. Donations from the public brought in about $12,000-- $5,000 of it in the last week.
"We're really, right now, just trying to re-train his leg how to work properly," Ore said.
His original trainer, Briana Ore, takes care of him now. Because of his injuries, it is unlikely that Tango will ever return to service.
"We just feel it's fair to him to let him be a spoiled pet," Ore said. "He's done his duty, he's served amazingly well and now we're just going to let him recover and enjoy his retirement."
Most of the dogs that come to Freedom Service Dogs come from shelters before they are trained. For more information on what Freedom Service Dogs do, click here.
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