War Dog Mike Funeral

Veteran Matthew Bessler and his bomb-sniffing dog, Mike, earned two Bronze Stars for their work with the Army’s Special Forces during two tours in Iraq. The retired Belgian Malinois was spending his days hunting and fishing with Bessler in a small town in Wyoming. He was a calming presence for Bessler, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and the effects of a traumatic brain injury after his 20 years in the Army. That ended just over a week ago, when Mike was shot and killed by a 59-year-old bicyclist near Bessler’s property who told police he felt threatened by the dog. The man hasn’t been cited for any wrongdoing, but neighbors say they didn’t hear barking and Bessler, who’s devastated, is questioning his story. He is also pressing for a military funeral with honors for Mike. “Mike was a retired major in the Army that saved a number of lives because of his work in bomb detection and everything he had done,” he said. A GoFundMe page that was set up to raise money for the funeral has brought in more than $13,000 in five days, quickly topping its goal of $10,000. The organizer of the GoFundMe page says that after paying for funeral services and a necropsy, the remaining donations will go toward an organization of Bessler’s choosing that benefits war veterans. — Read it at the Washington Post