A German Shepherd who was severely wounded during a rocket attack on the front lines in Ukraine is starting a new life working with a Hungarian police department.
The 3-year-old pup, named Rambo, was on the verge of death after the attack in northeastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv province last year.
He was saved after undergoing emergency surgery but was left partially deformed from his injuries, as half of his face had been mangled by shrapnel.
With his war days behind him, Rambo is now training with the Budapest police to work with people with disabilities.
The affectionate canine is learning how to socialize with children, older adults and disabled people at police demonstrations and rehabilitation institutions, Lt. Col. Maria Stein with the Budapest Metropolitan Police told The Associated Press.
He will work with the department’s crime prevention program, with the goal of teaching young people how to be more tolerant and respectful of those with disabilities or those who are different, Stein said.
“Nowadays, unfortunately, it happens that children mock each other because they wear glasses, because they have braces, because their ears look funny or whatever — because they’re different,” she said. “With Rambo, we might be able to sensitize these children a little and show them that, yes, he is injured, he’s different, but he can do the same things as other dogs.”
The Russian rocket attack, which also injured numerous Ukrainian soldiers the dog had followed into battle, blew away pieces of Rambo’s skull, damaged his jaw and severely disfigured his right ear.
After his emergency surgery, he was taken to western Ukraine before he was transferred to a rehab center in neighboring Hungary by Violetta Kovacs, who heads a Hungarian organization dedicated to rescuing German shepherds.
“The dog needed immediate help,” Kovacs said. “We had to operate again here in Hungary because several of his teeth were causing him great pain because of the injury, which required immediate intervention.”
He spent eight months at the rehabilitation center where his jaw was reconstructed, his right ear amputated and several teeth removed.
Kovacs said Rambo underwent training to socialize him with other dogs, but his love for children was immediately apparent.
Gyula Desko, a lieutenant colonel with the Budapest Metropolitan Police, then adopted Rambo, providing him with further training and a home.
“Working with him requires more patience and more attention, as we do not know what kind of mental problems his head injury caused him,” Desko said, but Rambo is “so open with people and accepts them, despite his injuries and the shock that befell him.”
Desko said the dog’s indiscriminate attitude towards people is what the police department hopes will inspire those who meet the pooch to be kind and accept others’ differences.
“As a police dog, one can see through him that you can live a full life even when injured, and can be a useful member of society and do very diverse things,” Desko said.
He called Rambo a “very friendly, good-natured dog” who is making good progress in his miraculous recovery.
With Post Wires