I have been postponing writing this blog for the last few days because this story is so heart-wrenching. However, I think everyone of our readers should be introduced to precious Target.
Target was one of 3 dogs regarded as heroes after they intercepted a suicide bomber attempting to enter soldiers barracks after sneaking onto a base in Afghanistan in February. Target and her two mates, Rufus and Sasha, snarled, growled and generally wouldn’t allow the suicide bomber access to the 50+ soldiers inside the barracks. The suicide bomber detonated himself outside of the barracks, sparing the lives of all of the soldiers; unfortunately, the attack caused grave but non-life threatening injuries to Rufus and Target and killed Sasha. The base’s soldiers, including medic Sgt. Terry Young, nursed both Rufus and Target back to health along with the 5 soldiers who had also been wounded in the bomb attack.
When their tours ended, Sgt. Young and his fellow soldiers raised thousands of dollars to bring the two surviving dogs back to the United States where they received the hero’s welcome they so richly earned. As their story of heroism and recovery became publicized, Rufus and Target won the hearts of many Americans, even appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Sgt. Young eventually brought Target home to Arizona, where she became part of his family, which included three children. Target learned to play, fetch and play the role of family member those of us who have and love our dogs are so familiar with.
Sadly, it is with great remorse and a heavy heart that we must inform our readers that Target was euthanized earlier this week. She had slipped out of her loving home via a doggie door and was picked up by animal control. Sgt. Young found Target via an online photo on the local shelter’s website and called them to let them know he would be coming in to pick up his dogs.
Unfathomably, hours before Sgt. Young pulled into the Pinal County Animal Care and Control Center in Casa Grande, Arizona, Target was mistakenly euthanized. Target had been taken out of her pen on Monday morning, mistaken for another dog because she hadn’t been microchipped or had other external forms of identification and euthanized. The shelter worker who euthanized Target has since been fired and a full investigation has been ordered after another shelter worker came forward voicing concerns over similar practices.
This terrible tragedy has devastated Sgt. Young’s family and broken the hearts of those of us who had gotten to know Target from a distance. Everyone involved deserved better, most especially Target. Our hope is that wherever Target is, she has found a place to run, eat, love and has received a true hero’s welcome. Z~