Military K9 hero treated by Tampa vet for heat stroke - WFLA News Channel 8

Military K9 hero treated by Tampa vet for heat stroke

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5-year-old Eddie with his handler Staff Sgt. George Holmes 5-year-old Eddie with his handler Staff Sgt. George Holmes
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

It's not like Eddie, a 5-year-old Belgian malinois to be still and not want to jump around in excitement. But Monday's sweltering temperatures during bite training at MacDill Air Force Base, combined with high humidity caused a case of heat stroke.

Dog handler Staff Sgt. George Holmes and others rushed him to Blue Pearl Veterinary Hospital.

"On the way over to the vet,  on base, we all shed some tears because you never want to lose a dog, especially while doing work like this.  You don't want to see like your fault or anything like that," said Sgt. Holmes.

While dog handlers bond with their animals, Eddie is a special dog who's seen action in Afghanistan. In May last year Eddie performed a life-saving feat, rescuing his handler.

"Eddie saved his life actually by finding an improvised explosive device right before he was able to step on it and everything.  And it saves the lives of his squad and of sergeant Hutto as well," said Sgt. Holmes.

And now, the Air Force is returning the favor.  Quick work getting Eddie to cool water likely saved his life.

"He was weak. He was mentally not right.  He had had a seizure prior to getting here," said Dr. John Gicking, a veterinarian.

Sgt. Holmes, by Eddie's cage at all times, plans to pull an all-nighter, like he would do for fellow humans hurt in battle.

"Eddie is a good friend of mine.  Like a pal. Work with him every day.  So he protects the base.  He protects base resources. And he protects me as well,” said Sgt. Holmes.

The next 24 to 48 hours will determine if Eddie has any permanent injury from the heat. His vet says his chances are good he'll be back at bite training.

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