Teddy, Surfside Comfort Dog Injured in Line of Duty, Gets Private Jet Ride Home
Teddy was one of the first pups on the scene when the Champlain Towers condominium crumbled to the ground last month in Miami.
The six-year-old basset hound-Labrador mix from Philadelphia traveled to Surfside with the nonprofit Crisis Response Canines (CRC) in the immediate aftermath of the devastation.
But after three weeks of comforting grieving families and traumatized first responders, Teddy's story took a turn. After waking up one morning unable to move, the do-gooding pup found himself in need of help.
Veterinarians diagnosed Teddy with a herniated disc and two partially torn ligaments in the knees.
"He's just not able to walk," Dr. Tonya Carswell, of Progressive Choice Animal Care in Pembroke Pines, told CBS4 Miami last week. "The Surfside dogs had a lot of stress, heat, additional weight on back."
The brave canine received laser therapy and acupuncture to relieve his symptoms, but he and his human were anxious to get back home to Philadelphia. With a long car ride and a commercial flight impossible in his condition, Barrett was short on options. In a pinch, she set up a GoFundMe to help with Teddy's recovery and journey home.
That's when the Titan Aviation Group got involved, offering Teddy a free ride on a private Hawker 800 XP 8-seater aircraft—a one-way trip worth $10,000.
"When I'm having bad day, my dog puts a smile on my face," Titan Aviation Group owner Dirk Vander Sterre told WSVN. "What he was doing down there was great. As soon as I saw it, I wanted to be involved."
The luxury aviation company rolled out the red carpet for Teddy, who reported landed safely in Philadelphia earlier this week.
In a follow-up interview with CBS4 Miami on Tuesday, Barrett and Teddy's co-owner Jake Blouch said they are in awe of all the support their pup has received.
"It's not really real to me, an incredible act of generosity," Blouch said. "Thought this would never happen, but here we are."
Teddy's GoFundMe reached a staggering $49,330 on Wednesday afternoon, leading Barrett to discontinue the fundraiser. With his medical needs more than met, Barrett said that excess funds will be donated directly to CRC.
"Thank you again for your incredible generosity," she wrote in an update. "We are truly humbled."
As for Teddy, CBS4 Miami reports that he is expected to make a full recovery.