Laurie Vickery & K-9 Recon

recon In Kansas, when a volunteer answers the call, no matter the time or distance and risks their life to save a complete stranger, we call them a hero. In Kansas when a hero is falls ill or is injured, we take care of them. We hold BBQs and bake sales. We raffle off cars and we hold auctions. We take offerings at church and donations at the corner store register. We take care of those who take care of us.


In Kansas, when a volunteer answers the call, no matter the time or distance and risks their life to save a complete stranger, we call them a hero. In Kansas when a hero is falls ill or is injured, we take care of them. We hold BBQs and bake sales. We raffle off cars and we hold auctions. We take offerings at church and donations at the corner store register. We take care of those who take care of us.

reconBut what about those heroes who just happen to have four legs and fur? Although since the dogs of 9/11, awareness has increased about the abilities and achievements of Search and Rescue dogs, funding for emergency medical care for these heroes is still few and far between. Recon is one of those heroes. Recon, an eight year old German shepherd is one of the lead dogs on the K9 Search and Rescue of Kansas team. Rescued from a neglectful home at six months, Recon returns the favor by rescuing people. Along with her handler, Laurie Vickery, Recon has spent most of her life answering the call of strangers. No matter the time of day or the weather, Recon leaps into the back of the jeep and waits for her turn to search for a lost child, or an Alzheimer's patient that has wandered too far.

Recon was one of the first on the scene at Greensburg, looking for survivors in the heat and the rubble and the mud. Working both wilderness and disaster, injuries are expected for search and rescue dogs. Despite training and expensive protective garments for the canines, there are numerous dangers in an unexplored wilderness. After a tornado, there are downed trees and unstable houses, glass and nails everywhere. All handlers know the risk.

reconBut Recon wasn't injured by glass or a snakebite. Recon was brought down during a training session by a nearly invisible tick carrying a deadly disease, Ehrlichia. One morning, seemingly out of nowhere, Recon sneezed and an uncontrollable nose bleed began. She was rushed to Kansas City for emergency care, and the month long fight to save her life began. This tick-born disease destroys white blood cells. German Shepherds, like Recon, have no natural immunity to the disease. Even more devastating is, even after contracting the disease, they still develop no antibodies.

Simply put, Recon will never search again. The risk to her life is too great. As rough as it is for Laurie and Recon's human team mates to hear, it's harder for Recon to understand. Recon loves to search, her instinctive drive compels her to find lost people. She doesn't understand why she must stay behind when the other dogs get the command to "load up." She doesn't understand that another tick bite could kill her.

reconThe bills for her care are mounting. Already well over $5,000 the testing and medications must continue indefinitely. There are indeed people who will raise an eyebrow at spending thousands of dollars to save the life of a dog. But never once has Recon or Laurie put a price on saving lives. If you're wondering, the current estimates on raising and training a dog to national standards, fully certified and ready to search for lost persons or disaster victims is $10,000. Add to that the weekly training, and yearly testing. Then if called, there's loss of income, travel, lodging, food, and supplies. K9 Search and Rescue is a volunteer calling. Searchers never ask for, expect, or require payment. I suppose we could say that the money needed to keep Recon alive and healthy is simply her paycheck.

Teresa Purvis


recon The day Dr Kutter called me and said it was not good my heart sank. We loaded her up and took her to Mission Med Vet in Mission Kansas. It was a long ride I was not sure she would even make it to Mission Med Vet. We arrived at Mission Med Vet and they took her to the back and an hour later Dr Wasmer and Dr McDonald assessed her and came and talked to us. We got to see her an hour later she was sitting up in the cage wagging her tail. The hardest part was leaving her there not knowing if I would see her again.

The staff of Mission Med Vet was awesome I would call in the middle of the night to check on her. The staff of Mission Med Vet took excellent care of Recon her lab work was up and down. We went to visit her and her numbers were good drove home and the next day picked her up to bring her home. Recon was happy to see us and be home. It has been hard for me but harder on her as she does not understand why she cannot go and work. It has not been without trials and tribulations, every week going to the vet getting her numbers checked not knowing what the numbers will show.

reconRecon walks in the vet wagging her tail even though she knows that they are going to stick her with a needle .Her daily medication regemin is not her favorite either she takes eight pills a day and will have to for the rest of her life. Recon is a trooper and never has lost her zest for life even when her lab numbers were at their worst. We take life one day at a time and count each day we have her as a blessing.

I would like to thank my team, Dr. Kutter & Dr. Sipe, at Kutter Pet Care Center in Andover, Ks and Mission Med Vet Medical Center For Pets in Mission Ks for their support during the best times and the worst times. I would like to thank all the well wishes I have received from strangers and their support for her and our team.

Laurie

K9 Search and Rescue of Kansas has set up the Recon's Recovery Fund to assist in her past emergency expenses and ongoing care. If you would like more information on Erlichia in dogs, or would like to donate to Recon's Recovery, please visit us on the web at www.k9sark.org or you may send donations to Laurie Vickery at 2700 N. Parkdale, Wichita, Kansas 67205.

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 Logo For More Information About K-9 SARK, Inc. Please Contact: NASAR Logo
Justin Swank, Deputy Director of OperationsLaurie Vickery, Director of Operations
E-Mail: firemanswank1983@yahoo.comE-Mail: smokiebe@swbell.net
(620) 563-7084 (Home) (620) 629-0748 (Cell)(316) 773-4026 (Home) (316) 641-2862 (Cell)

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