War Dog Helps Family Cope with Their Loss


Eli, a black Lab, comforts Kathy Rusk at the Texas gravesite of her son, Marine Lance Cpl. Colton Rusk.
Photo by Adam Ferguson, National Geographic

Here’s a sad, yet touching story from National Geographic. After Marine dog handler Lance Cpl. Colton Rusk was killed in Afghanistan in 2010, his family learned of the bravery that Colton’s partner—a Black Lab named Eli—had displayed under fire:

The area was secured, but as Colton walked back to the Humvees, he was shot by a sniper. Eli jumped on top of him, trying to protect him. The other marines had to pull Eli away and put him in the truck while the medics tried to save Colton.

Shortly thereafter, Colton’s family was offered the chance to adopt Eli, and they felt that it seemed right to bring him home. It turned out to be the right decision. . .

Click here for the full story.


Eli bonds with Colton Rusk at the American K9 Interdiction training facility in South Carolina.
Photo courtesy the Rusk family, via National Geographic

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